Surgical decision making around paediatric preoperative anaemia in low-income and middle-income countries.
Charuvila S., Davidson SE., Thachil J., Lakhoo K.
Prevalence of anaemia is high among children in low-income and middle-income countries. Anaemia is an important factor to consider preoperatively as low haemoglobin concentrations can have a negative effect on surgical outcomes and can also lead to surgeries being cancelled or postponed, which can have adverse health implications and stretch already limited resources in these countries. Additionally, blood transfusions to correct anaemia exposes children to safety issues. Therefore, where anaemia is known to be prevalent and resources are scarce, a contextually appropriate and relatively safe minimum haemoglobin concentration for proceeding to surgery could substantially improve patient management and efficiency of the health system. In this Review, we consider why paediatric anaemia is a major public health issue in low-income and middle-income countries, the value of preoperative testing of anaemia, and methods of optimising haemoglobin concentrations in the context of paediatric surgeries taking place in resource-limited settings.