Supportive Pillow Helps to Minimize Blood Loss after Knee Replacement SurgeryAny surgery has complications. One of the problems after knee replacement surgery is blood loss. Most of the blood is lost after surgery, while patients are still lying in bed. Most patients und up needing blood transfusions, a procedure with its own set of risks. It would be better to avoid blood transfusions if possible.
These authors tested the use of a special pillow after knee replacement surgery. It was designed to help prevent blood loss. The pillow is placed under the knee, keeping the knee and hip bent at a 90-degree angle. The pillow was tested in 20 patients. They used the pillow for the first 24 hours after surgery. Their blood loss was compared to 20 patients who did not use the pillow. Blood loss was recorded at different times over the 48 hours after surgery.
Patients who used the pillow had less blood loss over the whole 48 hours. On average, they lost a total of 550 ml (about 18 ounces) less blood--a significant amount. None of the patients who used the pillow needed a blood transfusion. Three patients in the control group required transfusions.
There were concerns that using the pillow would make knees stiffer after 48 hours. But both groups had about the same range of motion. The pillow showed great success. The authors recommend using this special pillow after all knee replacement surgeries.
Marcus Timlin, AFRCSI, et al. The 90/90 Pillow Reduces Blood Loss after Knee
Arthroplasty: A Prospective Randomized Case Control Study. In The Journal of Arthroplasty. September 2003. Vol. 18. No. 6. Pp. 765-768.
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