Temporal changes in clot lysis and clot stability following tranexamic acid in cardiac surgery

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Cardiac surgery induces a multifactorial coagulopathy. Regular use of tranexamic acid (TXA) is becoming standard of care. Clinical challenges include selecting optimal dosing regimen and balancing the benefit versus risk of additional dosing with antifibrinolytics. The objective was to evaluate the effect of TXA by assessing kinetic properties of plasma clot formation, clot stability, and clot fibrinolysis. The study was a prospective case follow-up of 28 patients undergoing cardiac surgery (mean age 63.9 years, 29% women). Blood samples were analysed at seven time points during the first 48 h after surgery. All patients were treated with TXA, 2 g at start surgery, 1 g during extra corporeal circulation, and 1 g after reversal of heparin. An automated clot lysis assay using tissue factor and tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) was performed to evaluate clot formation, stability, and fibrinolysis. TXA protects against facilitated fibrinolysis and induces up to 13-fold increase in clot stability. All patients showed complete resistance to tPA-induced fibrinolysis during the first 6 h after cardiac surgery declining to 33% of patients at 48 h. Impaired renal function was associated with prolonged resistance to tPA-induced fibrinolysis. Despite inhibition of fibrinolysis with TXA, the overall clot stability declines and the kinetic properties of clot formation were impaired after cardiac surgery. TXA induces a multifold increase in clot resistance to fibrinolysis but does not affect clot formation or clot stability. Monitoring the level of resistance to fibrinolysis may prevent overdosing in particular in patients with impaired renal function.

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