header advert
Orthopaedic Proceedings Logo

Receive monthly Table of Contents alerts from Orthopaedic Proceedings

Comprehensive article alerts can be set up and managed through your account settings

View my account settings

Visit Orthopaedic Proceedings at:



Full Access



British Orthopaedic Research Society (BORS)


The reinfusion of perioperative cell salvage is one method employed to reduce exposure to donor blood. Data on the safety of this process, however, are scant. Notably, the effect of intraoperative, washed cell salvage reinfusion on prothrombotic markers has not been demonstrated. The risk of postoperative venous thromboembolism following major orthopaedic operations is not insignificant. The study objective was to assess the effect of cell salvage reinfusion on coagulation and platelet activation.

Twenty-one patients undergoing elective primary hip operations were recruited. Nine patients received washed cell salvage intraoperatively, and were compared with 12 patients undergoing similar surgery that did not. Two patients in the cell salvage group also received postoperative, unwashed cell salvage. Blood samples were collected pre-operatively, immediately post-operatively, and one day post-operatively for assays of platelet activation markers, P-selectin expression and fibrinogen binding by flow cytometry in diluted whole blood; coagulation activation marker, thrombin-antithrombin complex (TAT); D-dimer by ELISA, thrombin generation by chromogenic assay, and full blood count. Samples of cell salvage material were also analysed for prothrombotic markers.

There were no significant differences between the groups preoperatively. Postoperatively haemoglobin levels did not differ significantly between the cell salvage group and controls. Postoperative TAT and D-dimer were significantly higher in the cell salvage group compared with controls (p<0.05). One day postoperatively, there were significantly higher platelet P-selectin expression (p=0.006) and platelet fibrinogen binding (p=0.004) in the cell salvage group compared with controls. The white cell count (WCC) was also significantly higher (p=0.04). In the intraoperative washed cell salvage material, and in postoperative cell salvage, the platelet count was low, but significant proportions of platelets were activated, and levels of D-dimer were elevated compared with venous blood. The postoperative salvage material also contained high levels of TAT.

The results from this pilot study show the induction of a prothrombotic state following reinfusion of intraoperative, washed cell salvage in recipients undergoing primary elective hip operations. An inflammatory response to reinfusion is also indicated by the raised WCC. Further investigation into the safety of cell salvage is indicated.