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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2001 May;19(5):657-61.

Coronary artery bypass grafting surgery without the routine application of blood products: Is it feasible?

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  • 1Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany. wilhelmi@thg.mh-hannover.de



Fresh frozen plasma (FFP) substitution is currently standard practise in cardiac surgery. In this study we investigate whether elective coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery is feasible without the administration of blood products compared to the substitution of fresh frozen plasma.


From September 1997 to April 1998, 120 consecutive patients underwent CABG surgery at our institution. In the FFP group patients (n=60; men, n=43; women, n=17; mean age: 64+/-8.5 years) received 4 units of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) intraoperatively. In comparison, patients in the control group (n=60; men, n=44; women, n=16; mean age: 65+/-7.5 years) did not receive FFP. Main endpoints included perioperative hematologic parameters, blood loss, and the amount of blood products that were administered.


Intraoperatively, the substitution of packed red blood cells (pRBC) in the FFP group was significantly higher compared with the control group (0.63+/-0.94 units/patient vs. 0.12+/-0.38 units/patient, P=0.001). Postoperatively, patients in the FFP group required significantly more pRBC products than patients in the control group (0.78+/-1.09 vs. 0.42+/-0.77, P=0.024). There were no significant differences in hemoglobin (FFP group: 99+/-11.1 g/dl; control group: 105+/-13.5 g/dl) and hematocrit levels (FFP group: 30+/-3.39%; control group: 32+/-4%). Also, no significant differences regarding the postoperative blood loss was observed between groups (FFP group: 588+/-224 vs. control group: 576+/-272 ml/24 h).


This study clearly demonstrates that the avoidance of routine intraoperative FFP administration does not lead to an increase in blood loss postoperatively compared to patients that received FFPs. Furthermore, we did not observe increased requirements for postoperative FFP infusion in patients that did not receive FFPs intraoperatively.

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