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Swiss Med Wkly. 2011 Jul 7;141:w13213. doi: 10.4414/smw.2011.13213.

Low-dose recombinant factor VIIa for massive bleeding: a single centre observational cohort study with 73 patients.

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  • 1Department of Hematology and Central Hematology Laboratory, Inselspital, University Hospital and University of Bern, Switzerland.



recombinant activated factor VII (rFVIIa) is used off-label for massive bleeding. There is no convincing evidence of the benefits of this practice and the minimal effective dose is unknown. The aim of the study was to evaluate our in-house guideline recommending a low dose of 60 μg/kg for off-label use of rFVIIa.


observational cohort study at the Inselspital Bern, a tertiary care University Hospital in Switzerland. All patients with massive bleeding treated off-label with rFVIIa between January 2005 and December 2007 were included. Survival, change of bleeding and transfusion rates, coagulation parameters and complications were analysed.


seventy-three patients received rFVIIa. Severe haemorrhage was documented by a bleeding rate of 1000 mL/h (median; interquartile range 350-3000) and total volume replacement of 11.9 L (6.6-15.2) before administration of rFVIIa. The median rFVIIa-dose was 64 μg/kg (56-71). rFVIIa was administered once in 79% patients, twice in 18%. The bleeding rate was reduced in 82% of the patients. Transfused packed red blood cells decreased from 14 units (8-22) over 4.9 h (2.5-8.8) before rFVIIa to 2 (0-6) in 24 h thereafter, platelet concentrates from 2 units (1-3) to 1 (0-2) and FFP from 11 units (6-16) to 2 (0-9). In-hospital mortality was 14% within 24 h and 32% at day 30. There were two arterial thromboembolic complications possibly related to rFVIIa.


a single injection of 60 μg/kg rFVIIa, a lower dose than usually recommended, appears to be efficacious in controlling massive bleeding with a very low complication rate.

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