Relationships Between Vein Repairs, Postoperative Transfusions, and Survival in Single Digit Replantation


Journal Article (Review)

© The Author(s) 2019. Background: The general teaching is that increased number of vein repairs in digit replantation leads to improved venous outflow, resulting in lower need for iatrogenic bleeding, lower postoperative transfusion requirements, and better survival rates. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the traditional teaching that emphasizes the repair of multiple veins per arterial anastomosis results in superior survival rates. Methods: A retrospective review of a single urban replant center’s single-digit replants distal to the mid-metacarpal level in adult patients from 2007 to 2017 was performed. Data on patient demographics, mechanism and level of injury, veins repaired, iatrogenic bleeding, postoperative transfusions, and replant survival were obtained. Results: There were a total of 54 single-digit replants. The most common mechanism was lacerations (N = 38), and the most common injury level was at the proximal phalanx (N = 21). All digits were replanted with a single arterial anastomosis—44% via grafting. In all, 0 to 3 veins were repaired per digit (mean = 1.5 veins). The mean transfusion requirement was 1.7 units. The survival rate was 50%. Digits with 1 or 2 veins repaired had lower transfusion requirements (1.1-1.3 units) and higher survival rates (56%-61%) compared with those replanted with 0 or 3 veins repaired (2.9-3.5 transfused units, 25%-29% survival). There were no differences between those digits replanted with either 1 or 2 veins repaired for transfusion requirements or survival. Conclusions: More veins repaired do not necessarily improve survival or possibly venous outflow, calling into question the traditional teaching that 2 veins should be repaired for every arterial anastomosis.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Milone, MT; Klifto, CS; Lee, ZH; Thanik, V; Hacquebord, JH

Published Date

  • January 1, 2019

Published In

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1558-9455

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1558-9447

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/1558944719828002

Citation Source

  • Scopus