Background. Cardiac surgery is frequently associated with excessive blood loss requiring multiple blood transfusions which are, in turn, associated with increased morbidity and mortality. We evaluated the effectiveness of rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM®)-guided administration of fresh-frozen plasma (FFP) with regards to blood loss, transfusion requirements, and major
Materials and methods. Coagulation management in 68 prospective patients undergoing cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass was based on a treatment algorithm guided by ROTEM® measurements. The primary end-point was blood loss at 24 hours after surgery. Secondary end-points were: (i) need for allogeneic blood products after cardiopulmonary bypass and 24 hours post-operatively, and (ii) post-operative complications until discharge. The results were compared with those of a retrospective, control group of 69 patients who received empirical coagulation management before implementation of the ROTEM®-guided algorithm.
Results. Although patients with significantly lower haemoglobin levels received less packed red blood cells (PRBC) (840 vs 1,120 mL; p=0.031) and FFP (480 vs 720 mL; p=0.007) after introduction of the ROTEM® algorithm, the intra-operative blood loss and post-operative haemoglobin levels were similar in the ROTEM® and the retrospective control groups. In addition to significantly reduced blood loss and decreased requirements for PRBC (30.8 vs 62.3%; p<0.001) and FFP (25.0 vs 56.5%; p<0.001), the amounts of PRBC (315 vs 840 mL; p<0.001) and FFP (480 vs 840 mL; p=0.001) received during the first 24 hours after surgery were significantly reduced in the ROTEM® group, as was the duration of post-operative hospitalisation.
Discussion. Compared with empirical treatment, timely ROTEM®-guided FFP administration during cardiac surgery can reduce not only overall blood product use and blood loss but also the duration of hospitalisation.
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