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Cell salvage and donor blood transfusion during cesarean section: A pragmatic, multicentre randomised controlled trial (SALVO)

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Paul Ayuk, Professor Steve RobsonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2017 Khan et al. Background: Excessive haemorrhage at cesarean section requires donor (allogeneic) blood transfusion. Cell salvage may reduce this requirement. Methods and findings: We conducted a pragmatic randomised controlled trial (at 26 obstetric units; participants recruited from 4 June 2013 to 17 April 2016) of routine cell salvage use (intervention) versus current standard of care without routine salvage use (control) in cesarean section among women at risk of haemorrhage. Randomisation was stratified, using random permuted blocks of variable sizes. In an intention-to-treat analysis, we used multivariable models, adjusting for stratification variables and prognostic factors identified a priori, to compare rates of donor blood transfusion (primary outcome) and fetomaternal haemorrhage ≥2 ml in RhD-negative women with RhD-positive babies (a secondary outcome) between groups. Among 3,028 women randomised (2,990 analysed), 95.6% of 1,498 assigned to intervention had cell salvage deployed (50.8% had salvaged blood returned; mean 259.9 ml) versus 3.9% of 1,492 assigned to control. Donor blood transfusion rate was 3.5% in the control group versus 2.5% in the intervention group (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.65, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.42 to 1.01, p = 0.056; adjusted risk difference −1.03, 95% CI −2.13 to 0.06). In a planned subgroup analysis, the transfusion rate was 4.6% in women assigned to control versus 3.0% in the intervention group among emergency cesareans (adjusted OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.34 to 0.99), whereas it was 2.2% versus 1.8% among elective cesareans (adjusted OR 0.83, 95% CI 0.38 to 1.83) (interaction p = 0.46). No case of amniotic fluid embolism was observed. The rate of fetomaternal haemorrhage was higher with the intervention (10.5% in the control group versus 25.6% in the intervention group, adjusted OR 5.63, 95% CI 1.43 to 22.14, p = 0.013). We are unable to comment on long-term antibody sensitisation effects. Conclusions: The overall reduction observed in donor blood transfusion associated with the routine use of cell salvage during cesarean section was not statistically significant. Trial registration: This trial was prospectively registered on ISRCTN as trial number 66118656 and can be viewed on

Publication metadata

Author(s): Khan KS, Moore PAS, Wilson MJ, Hooper R, Allard S, Wrench I, Beresford L, Roberts TE, McLoughlin C, Geoghegan J, Daniels JP, Catling S, Clark VA, Ayuk P, Robson S, Gao-Smith F, Hogg M, Lanz D, Dodds J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PLoS Medicine

Year: 2017

Volume: 14

Issue: 12

Pages: e1002471

Online publication date: 19/12/2017

Acceptance date: 12/11/2017

Date deposited: 16/01/2018

ISSN (print): 1549-1277

ISSN (electronic): 1549-1676

Publisher: Public Library of Science


DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002471

PubMed id: 29261655


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