Anemia before reimplantation surgery : An overlooked modifiable risk factor of septic revision knee arthroplasty failure


Preoperative anemia in patients undergoing a two-stage septic revision arthroplasty may be a factor of reinfection, even in the presence of aggressive antimicrobial therapy. Patient Blood Management (PBM) in such patients is challenging. We evaluate the impact of anemia existing before re-implantation on a failure rate after two-stage septic total knee arthroplasty (rTKA), and explore feasibility of a PBM strategy implementation in these patients.

Materials and methods:

A retrospective study of patients from January 2010 to January 2015 in a French regional referral center was performed. Patients undergoing a two-stage rTKA for infection after successful primary TKA were identified and followed up to 31.12.2018. The primary outcome (failure) was defined as surgical site infection after re-implantation requiring new surgery. The secondary outcomes were time to failure, the time between explantation/reimplantation, transfusion rate during the second stage. Preoperative anemia was defined as Hb level < 12 g/L before the re-implantation.


69 patients were identified; 17 (24%) developed reinfection of rTKA in 105 [11.4–156] days. In these patients pre-implantation anemia was more frequent (n = 13(76.5%) in failed vs. n = 21(40%) in non-failed, p = 0.0110). During the explantation stage, there were no significant group differences in age, sex, comorbidity, type of spacer and antimicrobial therapy, iron supplementation, or transfusion rate. The median time between explantation/reimplantation surgery was 51 [43–71.5] days, indifferent between the two groups. Intraoperative transfusion during reimplantation was required in 12 (17%) patients, more frequent in failed patients. None of the patients had contraindications for the PBM strategy except the cell-saver use.


In two-stageseptic rTKA preoperative anemia was almost two times more frequent and associated with an elevated rate of septic failure. The time-frame between explantation and-re-implantation is sufficient to implement a PBM strategy for all anemic patients. Before-after studies would be of interest to determine the best PBM strategy to prevent anemiaassociated septic failure in such a condition.
international free access