The goal of this study was to determine efficacy and cost-effectiveness of Cell Saver in 2- and 3-level lumbar decompression and fusion.
Patients seen at a tertiary care spine center who were undergoing a posterior 2- or 3-level lumbar decompression and fusion were randomized to have Cell Saver used during their surgery (CS group, n = 48) or not used (No Cell Saver [NCS] group, n = 47). Data regarding preoperative and postoperative hemoglobin and hematocrit, estimated blood loss, volume of Cell Saver blood reinfused, number of units and volume of allogeneic blood transfused intraoperatively and postoperatively, complications, and costs were collected. Costs associated with Cell Saver use were calculated based on units of allogeneic blood transfusions averted.
Demographics and surgical parameters were similar in both groups. The mean estimated blood loss was similar in both groups: 612 ml in the CS group and 742 ml in the NCS group. There were 53 U of allogeneic blood transfused in 29 patients in the NCS group at a total blood product cost of $67,688; and 38 U of allogeneic blood transfused in 16 patients in the CS group at a total blood cost of $113,162, resulting in a cost of $3031 per allogeneic blood transfusion averted using Cell Saver.
Cell Saver use produced lower rates of allogeneic transfusion but was found to be more expensive than using only allogeneic blood for 2- and 3-level lumbar degenerative fusions. This increased cost may be reasonable to patients who perceive that the risks associated with allogeneic transfusions are unacceptable.
■ CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE Type of question: therapeutic; study design: randomized controlled trial; evidence: class III.