Questioning the routine use of postoperative laboratory tests is a strategy to combat rising health care costs. The goal of this study was to determine the utility and cost of routine postoperative complete blood count (CBC) testing after primary total knee arthroplasty (TKA) in the era of tranexamic acid (TXA). This retrospective chart review identified patients who underwent primary TKA performed by a single surgeon at a single private institution during a 2-year period. All patients received TXA intraoperatively. Exact tests were used to determine whether there was a significant difference in transfusion rates between patients with and without preoperative anemia. Of 628 primary TKA procedures, 390 patients (62.10%) had anemia postoperatively. However, only 1 patient (0.16%) required transfusion. A total of 956 CBC tests were performed without intervention, at a total cost of $116,804.08. In addition, 1 of 26 patients with preoperative anemia vs 0 of 602 patients without preoperative anemia required transfusion (P=.04). Healthy patients undergoing primary TKA who receive TXA do not require postoperative CBC. This change has the potential to reduce this laboratory cost by more than 97% compared with the current practice of obtaining postoperative CBC testing for every patient undergoing TKA. Only patients with preoperative anemia should undergo postoperative CBC testing to help to identify those who require transfusion. The potential health care savings associated with eliminating routine postoperative CBC testing are substantial and should be considered by arthroplasty surgeons. [Orthopedics. 2021;44(x):xx-xx.].
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References

PubMed