Background and purpose: Assessment of risk factors associated with the use of perioperative allogeneic blood transfusion and the effect of transfusion on infectious complications after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA). Methods: All patients included had IPAA with ileostomy. They were divided into two groups: transfused (TRAN); nontransfused (NON). Data included age, gender, preoperative anemia (Hgb <9 l g/dl), operative blood loss, transfusion volume, incidence of postoperative infectious or anastomotic complications, and length of stay (LOS). Results: The 1,202 patients eligible for the study were divided into: TRAN = 240 patients and NON = 962 patients. The patient age, sex, and preoperative steroid use were similar in both groups. Significantly, more patients in the TRAN group were anemic preoperatively (32 vs 11%; p<0.05) and the preoperative Hgb level was significantly lower in the TRAN (12.07; p<0.05 vs 13.34 g/dl). Transfusion was required more frequently in anemic patients (p<0.001). The overall infection rate was significantly higher in the TRAN (48.75 vs 11.22%, p<0.001), Anastomotic separation (10.83 vs 3.32%, TRAN and NON, respectively; p<0.001) and fistula formation percentage (20.8 vs 4.46%, TRAN and NON, respectively; p<0.001) was significantly higher in the TRAN group. Pelvic sepsis also occurred more frequent in TRAN (22.9 vs 4.2%, TRAN and NON, respectively; p<0.001). The incidence of any infectious complication at any site was higher in anemic patients irrespective of transfusion status (18.2 vs 2.8%, p<0.05). Transfusion was the only significant independent risk factor for postoperative infections. LOS was adversely affected by an infectious complication (9 vs 7 days, p<0.001). Conclusions: Preoperative anemia is a significant risk factor for perioperative transfusion with significant increase in postoperative infectious complications and anastomotic complications after IPAA. Strategies to correct preoperative anemia, refine indications for transfusion, and define the use of blood salvage techniques may be helpful in decreasing this risk.
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