Mini-extracorporeal circulation minimizes coagulation abnormalities and ameliorates pulmonary outcome in coronary artery bypass grafting surgery

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Hemostasis is impaired during CABG and coagulation abnormalities often result in clinically relevant organ dysfunctions, eventually increasing morbidity and mortality rates. Fifteen consecutive patients with coronary artery disease submitted to conventional extracorporeal circulation (cECC) have been compared with 15 matched patients, using mini-ECC (MECC). Postoperative lung function was evaluated according to gas exchange, intubation time and lung injury score. In the MECC group, thrombin-antithrombin complex levels (TaTc), prothrombin fragments (PF1+2) formation and thromboelastography (TEG) clotting times were lower compared to the cECC group (p=0.002 and p<0.001, respectively) whereas postoperative blood loss was higher in the cECC group (p=0.030) and more patients required blood transfusion (p=0.020). In the MECC group, postoperative gas exchange values were better, intubation time shorter and lung injury score lower (p<0.001 for all comparisons). Our study suggests that MECC induces less coagulation disorders, leading to lower postoperative blood loss and better postoperative lung function. This approach may be advantageous in high-risk patients.

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