OBJECTIVES Reduction of blood loss after cardiac surgery remains challenging. The effectiveness of adherence to a protocol on cessation of anticoagulants and platelet-inhibiting medications was investigated together with the influence of protocol violations on blood loss after surgery, use of blood products, surgical re-explorations and 30-day mortality. METHODS Between 2009 and 2013, data were collected prospectively for all elective cardiac surgery procedures in adult patients (n = 1637). Two groups were distinguished: Group 1 adhered to the protocol for cessation or continuation of medication (n = 1287, 79%) and Group 2 violated the protocol (n = 350, 21%). RESULTS Median blood loss was 300 ml (interquartile range 175-500 ml). Eighty patients underwent re-exploration due to blood loss (5%). Thirty-day mortality was 2% (n = 27). Protocol violation was associated with increased blood loss [median 275 ml (175-475 ml) vs 350 ml (250-612); P ≤ 0.001] and with increased average use of fresh frozen plasma (226 ml vs 139 ml; P<< 0.00001), red blood cell transfusion (115 ml vs 87 ml; P = 0.081) and thrombocyte transfusions (52 ml vs 37 ml; P = 0.0082). The number of re-explorations (4% vs 6%; P = 0.39) and mortality risk (1% vs 2%; P = 0.72) did not differ. CONCLUSIONS Balancing the benefit of continuing platelet inhibitors or anticoagulants versus cessation before surgery remains challenging. Adherence to the protocol will lead to lower blood loss and in a lower consumption of blood products although the decision to go for re-exploration and 30-day mortality does not differ compared with the protocol violation. Stopping medication does not lead to thromboembolic events.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Blood loss, Blood products, Protocol adherence, Re-explorations
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1093/icvts/ivx401, hdl.handle.net/1765/106514
Journal Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
van Valen, R, van Gameren, M, Mokhles, M.M, Takkenberg, J.J.M, Horst, ter, M, Hofland, J, & Bogers, A.J.J.C. (2018). Effectiveness of adherence to a preoperative antiplatelet and anticoagulation cessation protocol in cardiac surgery. Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, 26(5), 820–825. doi:10.1093/icvts/ivx401