Preoperative iron treatment in anaemic patients undergoing elective total hip or knee arthroplasty: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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Objectives: Preoperative anaemia is associated with increased risks of postoperative complications, blood transfusion and mortality. This meta-analysis aims to review the best available evidence on the clinical effectiveness of preoperative iron in anaemic patients undergoing elective total hip (THR) or total knee replacement (TKR). Design: Electronic databases and handsearching were used to identify randomised and non-randomised studies of interventions (NRSI) reporting perioperative blood transfusion rates for anaemic participants receiving iron before elective THR or TKR. Searches of CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, PubMed and other databases were conducted on 17 April 2019 and updated on 15 July 2020. Two investigators independently reviewed studies for eligibility and evaluated risk of bias using the Cochrane risk of bias tool for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and a modified Newcastle-Ottawa scale for NRSIs. Data extraction was performed by ABS and checked by AB. Meta-analysis used the Mantel-Haenszel method and random-effects models. Results: 807 records were identified: 12 studies met the inclusion criteria, of which 10 were eligible for meta- analyses (one RCT and nine NRSIs). Five of the NRSIs were of high-quality while there were some concerns of bias in the RCT. Meta-analysis of 10 studies (n=2178 participants) showed a 39% reduction in risk of receiving a perioperative blood transfusion with iron compared with no iron (risk ratio 0.61, 95% CI 0.50 to 0.73, p<0.001, I2=0%). There was a significant reduction in the number of red blood cell units transfused with iron compared with no iron (mean difference −0.37units, 95% CI −0.47 to 2-0.27, p<0.001, I =40%); six studies (n=1496). Length of stay was significantly reduced with iron, by an average of 2.08 days (95% CI −2.64 to −1.51, p<0.001, I2=40%); five studies (n=1140). Conclusions: Preoperative iron in anaemic, elective THR or TKR patients, significantly reduces the number of patients and number of units transfused and length of stay. However, high-quality, randomised trials are lacking. PROSPERO registration number CRD42019129035.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere036592
Number of pages18
JournalBMJ Open
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2020

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