We analyzed the relationship of hemoglobin level and duration of hospitalization of patients who underwent primary cemented total hip arthroplasty for degenerative joint disease at our institution. Retrospectively, we reviewed the medical records of 332 patients treated during a 16-month period (May 6, 1989, to Aug. 20, 1990). The following variables were analyzed: number of postoperative days to dismissal from the hospital, level of hemoglobin preoperatively and at dismissal, decrease in hemoglobin level from preoperatively to time of dismissal, patient age, surgeon, and blood products transfused. No correlation was found between level of hemoglobin at dismissal, preoperative hemoglobin level, or decrease in hemoglobin concentration from preoperatively to time of dismissal and number of days to dismissal from the hospital. Advanced age was associated with a longer hospital stay. A slight but statistically significant difference was noted in duration of hospitalization among patients operated on by different surgeons. Patients who received both autologous and homologous blood required more transfusion (3.8 units) and had a longer hospital stay (10.7 days) than did patients who received autologous blood only (2.4 units and 9.5 days) or homologous blood only (2.6 units and 10.2 days). We conclude that variation in hemoglobin levels among patients in our study was unrelated to duration of hospitalization. This finding suggests that transfusion of autologous or homologous blood to achieve a higher hemoglobin level (higher transfusion target) solely for shortening hospital stay is unwarranted.
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