Knee Surg Relat Res.  2020 Jun;32(2):e33. 10.1186/s43019-020-00051-6.

3-h drain clamping is not effective to reduce total blood loss after primary total knowledge

  • 1The Department of Orthopedic Surgery, St. Vincent’s Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, 93, Jungbu-daero, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea


Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is a clinically efficacious surgical option for end-stage knee osteoarthritis. However, TKA increases the risk of serious bleeding and blood transfusion. The objective of this study was to evaluate the difference in postoperative blood loss in groups subjected to 3 h of clamping and non-clamping and determine the variations in rate and amount of transfusion after TKA between the two groups.
Materials and methods
Propensity score matching of the group subjected to 3-h drain clamping (43 patients; September 2015 to April 2016) and the control group (43 patients; before initiating the clamping method) was performed in patients undergoing unilateral primary posterior stabilized TKA. The two groups were compared. We measured the total drained blood volume until the drain was removed 48 h after surgery, and we compared the preoperative levels of hemoglobin and hematocrit with levels observed on days 1 and 2 after surgery. We also determined the blood transfusion rate and volume as well as the occurrence of clamping-associated complications.
In the group subjected to 3-h drain clamping, the mean volume of total drained blood was significantly lower than in the control group (333.8 ± 190.2 mL vs. 839.9 ± 339.8 mL, P <0.001). There was no significant difference in total blood loss between the two groups (1226.9 ± 488.1 mL vs. 1127.1 ± 424.5 mL,P = 0.315), but the hidden blood loss was significantly higher in the 3-h drain clamping group than in the control group (893.1 ± 487.7 mL vs. 294.7 ± 531.8 mL, P <0.001). Both the transfusion rate and amount in the 3-h drain clamped group were higher than in the control group but were not statistically significant (30.2% vs. 37.2%, P = 0.494 and 269.8 ± 483.8 mL vs. 316.3 ± 158.2 mL,P = 0.648, respectively). No significant differences in complications, including deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary thromboembolism, and oozing, were noted between the two groups (all,P = 1.000).
The 3-h drain clamping method after primary TKA using posterior stabilized implant reduced the loss of postoperative drained blood. However, hidden blood loss was significantly higher in the 3-h drain clamping group; as a result, there were no differences in total blood loss and transfusion rate. The clamping method did not significantly alter the complication rate.


Total knee arthroplasty; Clamping; Transfusion; Bleeding
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