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AIM: Paediatric-preoperative anaemia management is challenging in settings where clinical judgment is used to diagnose anaemia owing to a lack of timely, affordable preoperative haemoglobin testing. We analysed anaemia management in such a setting after the introduction of point-of-care bedside haemoglobin testers. METHOD: 1033 children who underwent surgery at a hospital in Bangladesh were included in this study. 569 underwent major surgery, and 464 underwent minor surgery and belonged to predominantly ASA category 1 or 2. RESULTS: 940/1033 children underwent preoperative anaemia testing. Average haemoglobin was 11.7 g/dL. 103/1033 children were deemed clinically anaemic. However, 285 children were found to have anaemia based on bedside testing. Sensitivity of clinical judgement was 33.68% (95 % CI 28.22%-39.49%), and the specificity was 99.08% (95 % CI 98.02%-99.66%). 63/1033 had preoperative anaemia treatment, of whom 60 underwent transfusion. Subgroup analysis of children with haemoglobin <10 g/dL (n = 124) was done to compare conservative vs liberal transfusion strategy. 43/124 of this subset was transfused. Average length of stay for those transfused was 11.7 days, and those who weren't was 9.9 days (p = 0.087). 4 patients in the transfused subgroup required post-op ICU, and only 1 patient in the conservatively managed arm required ICU (p = 0.048). CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the positive impact of bedside haemoglobin testers as they have resulted in a significantly higher proportion of children diagnosed with anaemia at a fraction of the cost and logistics involved in laboratory testing. Further research on haemoglobin thresholds is required to understand the safety and long-term impact of restrictive transfusion in the surgical context. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 2c (Grading as per the Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine).

Original publication




Journal article


J Pediatr Surg

Publication Date



Haemoglobin testing, Point-of-care, Preoperative anaemia, Transfusion