In the absence of large randomised trials, meta-analyses are a useful tool to assess whether a technique is clinically beneficial. This meta-analysis by Meybohm et al. provides further support to the importance of cell salvage as a part of a patient blood management strategy.

Apart from the obvious reduction in the use of allogeneic blood, which makes it a valuable strategy to preserve precious blood supplies, the auhors find that washed cell salvage is associated with benefits to the individual patient. The reduction in perioperative infection is very reassuring and the reduction in hospital stay should interest hospital managers and clinicians alike.

– Dafydd Thomas