AT SGS 2017

SAN ANTONIO (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – It was safe to skip preoperative blood type and antibody screening before vaginal and robotic apical prolapse surgeries at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, so long as the women didn’t have hemorrhage risk factors.

The rate of blood transfusions was 0.5% for both the 204 women who had vaginal repairs and the 203 women who underwent robotic repairs; the rate of positive antibody tests was 1.6%. Given the 0.4% risk of transfusion reactions in unscreened women, the investigators calculated that the risk of serious transfusion reactions was 1 in 50,000 with closed vaginal prolapse repairs.

“The bottom line for us is that the risk in this situation is very low, even if preop type and screens are not performed, and women hemorrhage. This information provides insight to answer our key clinical question, which was if we should continue to order preop type and screens,” lead investigator Taylor Brueseke, MD, an ob.gyn. fellow at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, said at the annual scientific meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons.

That question has been on the minds of gynecologic surgeons, and it’s probably never been parsed out before by route of surgery. The American College of Pathologists recommends two blood type and antibody screens from separate venipunctures before surgery. Often, the second, confirmatory test means that women have to come in even earlier on the morning of surgery and deal with another painful blood draw. It also adds a few hundred dollars to the bill.

Every surgeon needs to draw their own line between risks and benefits, Dr. Brueseke said, but it seems reasonable in many cases to skip the second screening for closed repairs. Even if a woman has a transfusion reaction, “it doesn’t mean that the patient is going to die. It’s something that you can deal with,” he said.

However, the team reached a different conclusion for women who undergo open abdominal repairs. Among the 201 cases they reviewed, 10.5% had a transfusion, which translated to a transfusion reaction risk of 1 in 2,645 for unscreened women undergoing open apical prolapse surgery. The higher hemorrhage rate was probably due to concomitant Burch procedures and other open incontinence operations.

For abdominal cases, and for women who have had prior transfusions, surgeries, or anticoagulation, “consider type and screen,” Dr. Brueseke said at the meeting, which was jointly sponsored by the American College of Surgeons.

In a separate study presented at the conference, more than 50,000 pelvic floor disorder surgeries in the National Surgery Quality Improvement Program database further defined the hemorrhage risk.

Investigators at Ohio State University, Columbus, found that the overall incidence of blood transfusions was low at 1.26%, but open abdominal procedures again increased the risk. Other factors associated with an increased risk of blood transfusion included preoperative hematocrit less than 30%, an American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status score of 3 or higher, concomitant hysterectomy, body mass index below 18.5 kg/m2, age less than 30 and over 65 years, and a history of bleeding disorders.

In the UNC study, the median Pelvic Organ Prolapse Quantification was stage III. Patients with bleeding disorders, anticoagulant use, or combined surgery with other services were excluded.

There was no industry funding for the two studies, and the investigators reported having no relevant financial disclosures.


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