Does intraoperative cell salvage reduce postoperative infection rates in cardiac surgery?

Jan van Klarenbosch (Corresponding author), Edwin R. van den Heuvel, Willem van Oeveren, Adrianus J. de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Primary outcome was the risk for infections after cell salvage in cardiac surgery. Design: Data of a randomized controlled trial on cell salvage and filter use (ISRCTN58333401). Setting: Six cardiac surgery centers in the Netherlands. Participants: All 716 patients undergoing elective coronary artery bypass grafting, valve surgery, or combined procedures over a 4-year period who completed the trial. Interventions: Postoperative infection data were assessed according to Centre of Disease Control and Prevention/National Healthcare Safety Network surveillance definitions. Measurements and Main Results: Fifty-eight (15.9%) patients with cell salvage had infections, compared with 46 (13.1%) control patients. Mediation analysis was performed to estimate the direct effect of cell salvage on infections (OR 2.291 [1.177;4.460], p = 0.015) and the indirect effects of allogeneic transfusion and processed cell salvage blood on infections. Correction for confounders, including age, seks and body mass index was performed. Allogeneic transfusion had a direct effect on infections (OR = 2.082 [1.133;3.828], p = 0.018), but processed cell salvage blood did not (OR = 0.999 [0.999; 1.001], p = 0.089). There was a positive direct effect of cell salvage on allogeneic transfusion (OR = 0.275 [0.176;0.432], p < 0.001), but a negative direct effect of processed cell salvage blood (1.001 [1.001;1.002], p < 0.001) on allogeneic transfusion. Finally, there was a positive direct effect of cell salvage on the amount of processed blood. Conclusions: Cell salvage was directly associated with higher infection rates, but this direct effect was almost completely eliminated by its indirect protective effect through reduced allogeneic blood transfusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1457-1463
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia
Issue number6
Early online date22 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • cell saver
  • infection
  • transfusion


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