Background. An outbreak of excessive bleeding after cardiac operations occurred at our institution when 5% albumin was in short supply and hetastarch became the preferred intraoperative colloid. As hetastarch may impair coagulation, we investigated the effects of its intraoperative administration on post-cardiac surgical hemostasis. Methods. Indices of postoperative hemostasis were analyzed in 189 consecutive patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting. Three groups were compared: one group (n = 68) received a mean of 796 mL of hetastarch only in the operating room (a few minutes after cessation of cardiopulmonary bypass), another group (n = 59) received a mean of 856 mL postoperatively only, and a third group (n = 62) received no hetastarch. Results. Compared with the other two groups, those patients administered hetastarch intraoperatively exhibited significant reductions in hematocrit and platelet count, a significant prolongation in the prothrombin time, and significant increases in both blood loss and hemostatic drug requirement. Also identified were obvious trends toward a greater transfusion requirement and reexploration rate for bleeding in the latter group. Conclusions. Hetastarch infusion just after weaning from cardiopulmonary bypass produces a clinically important impairment in post-cardiac surgical hemostasis. Intraoperative use of this agent during heart operations should be avoided until the safe timing of its administration is clarified.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine