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Background: Factors which reduce the extent of the expected increase in leukocyte count during the perioperative period might predispose surgical patients to postoperative infection. This study sought to identify these factors.
Methods: This was a retrospective chart review study involving 171 hip arthroplasty patients. Data collected for each patient included demographics, comorbidities, medications, surgery-related parameters, and preoperative/postoperative leukocyte counts. The difference between postoperative and preoperative leukocyte count (delta-leukocyte count, unit: x 109 cells/L) was determined for each patient. Potential associations between various characteristics and median delta-leukocyte count were statistically tested.
Results: The median delta-leukocyte count in smokers was 2.4 versus 3.0 in non-smokers (p=0.045). The median delta-leukocyte count was in patients who experience major blood loss was 2.1 versus 3.5 in patients who did not experience major blood loss (p=0.001).
Conclusion: The extent of the increase in perioperative leukocyte count was lower in smokers and patients who experienced major blood loss. These patients might be at increased risk for postoperative infection.