The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 35, Issue 2, 340 - 346

Long-Term Sustainability of a Quality Initiative Program on Transfusion Rates in Total Joint Arthroplasty: A Follow-Up Study

Bolz, Nicholas J. et al.
Hip Knee


There are significant variations in transfusion rates among institutions performing total joint arthroplasty. We previously demonstrated that implementation of an educational program to increase awareness of the American Association of Blood Banks’ transfusion guidelines led to an immediate decrease in transfusion rates at our facilities. It remained unclear how this initiative would endure over time. We report the long-term success and sustainability of this quality program.


We reviewed the Michigan Arthroplasty Collaborative Quality Initiative data from 2012 through 2017 of all patients undergoing primary hip and knee arthroplasty at our institutions for preoperative and postoperative hemoglobin level, transfusion status, and number of units transfused and transfusions outside of protocol to identify changes surrounding our blood transfusion educational initiative. We calculated the transfusions prevented and cost implications over the course of the study.


We identified 6645 primary hip and knee arthroplasty patients. There was a significant decrease in transfusion rate and overall transfusions in each group when compared to pre-education values. Subgroup analysis of TKA and THA independently showed significant decreases in both transfusion rate and overall transfusions. Over the final 3 years of the study, only 2 patients were transfused outside of the American Association of Blood Banks protocol. We estimate prevention of 519 transfusions over the study period.


Application of this quality initiative was an effective means of identifying opportunities for quality improvement. The program was easily initiated, had significant early impact, and has been shown to be sustainable.

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