Preoperative thromboelastometry for the prediction of increased chest tube output in cardiac surgery: A retrospective study

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Bleeding following cardiac surgery is a serious event with potentially life-threatening consequences. Preoperative recognition of coagulation abnormalities and detection of cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) related coagulopathy could aid in the start of preventive treatment strategies that minimize perioperative blood loss. Most algorithms that analyze thromboelastometry coagulation tests in elective cardiac surgery do not include test results performed before surgery. We evaluated preoperative rotational thromboelastometry test results for their ability to predict blood loss during and after cardiac surgery.

A total of 114 adult patients undergoing cardiac surgery with CPB were included in this retrospective analysis. Each patient had thromboelastometry tests done twice: preoperatively, before the induction of anesthesia and postoperatively, 10 minutes after heparin reversal with protamine after decannulation.

Patients were placed into 1 of 2 groups depending on whether preoperative thromboelastometry parameters deviated from reference ranges: Group 1 [N = 29; extrinsically activated test (EXTEM) or INTEM results out of normal range] or Group 2 (N = 85; EXTEM and INTEM results within the normal range). We observed that the total amount of chest tube output was significantly greater in Group 1 than in Group 2 (700 mL vs 570 mL, P = .03). At the same time, the preoperative values of standard coagulation tests such as platelet count, aPTT, and INR did not indicate any abnormalities of coagulation.

Preoperative coagulation abnormalities diagnosed with thromboelastometry can predict increased chest tube output in the early postoperative period in elective adult cardiac surgery. Monitoring of the coagulation system with thromboelastometry allows rapid diagnosis of coagulation abnormalities even before the start of the surgery. These abnormalities could not always be detected with routine coagulation tests.

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