African Journal of Paediatric Surgery

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Pre-operative haematological investigations in paediatric orofacial cleft repair: Any relevance to management outcome?

AT Adenekan, AF Faponle, FO Oginni


Aim and Objectives: To determine the value of routine pre-operative haematologic investigations in children undergoing orofacial cleft repair.
Background: Although routine pre-operative laboratory screening tests are carried out traditionally, some studies suggest that they are not absolutely necessary in the management of elective surgical patients.
Materials and Methods: This is a prospective cohort study carried out at a tertiary health facility located in Nigeria. A review of the laboratory investigations in 116 paediatric orofacial cleft patients undergoing surgery during a 6-year period was undertaken. Pre-operative laboratory investigations and peri-operative transfusion records were analysed for the frequency and impact of abnormal results on treatment plan and outcome using the Statistical Packages for the Social Scientists 16.0.
Results: All the children had preoperative packed cell volume (PCV) check on admission for surgery. The PCV ranged from 23% to 43%, mean was 32.9 (±3.7%). Twenty-two children (18.6%) had sub-optimal PCV (<30%). Patients with the lowest PCV values (23% and 26%) were transfused pre-operatively. The lowest post-operative PCV was 23%, mean 30.8 (±3.3%). There was no occasion of post-operative blood transfusion. Eighty-six patients (72.9%) had full or partial serum electrolyte and urea analysis. Screening for sicklecell disease was rarely done. Fourteen intra- and postoperative complications were recorded. None of these were predictable by the results of pre-operative screening tests carried out. All the children were discharged home in satisfactory condition.
Conclusions: Routine laboratory testing has minimal impact on management and outcome of orofacial cleft surgeries. However, haematocrit screening may be appropriate, particularly in clinically pale patients.
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