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Anesth Analg. 2012 Aug;115(2):364-78. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e31825aff10. Epub 2012 May 31.

Review of the off-label use of recombinant activated factor VII in pediatric cardiac surgery patients.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, Emory University School of Medicine, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, 1405 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


In recent years the off-label use of recombinant activated factor VII (rFVIIa) has markedly increased, particularly in pediatric cardiac surgery patients, and practitioners differ widely in their usage of the drug. In 2009, the Congenital Cardiac Anesthesia Society (CCAS) assembled a task force to review the literature on rFVIIa administration to pediatric cardiac surgery patients. The goal of the CCAS Task Force was to assess current practices and make recommendations about rFVIIa therapy to enhance quality of care, improve patient outcomes, reduce costs, and develop future research. In this review we summarized the important topics on current administration of rFVIIa to pediatric cardiac surgery patients including indications for use, efficacy, safety, dosing, and monitoring. All pediatric and pertinent adult literature regarding the administration of rFVIIa to cardiac surgical patients and published since 2000 were selected and studied. Of the 40 pediatric publications reviewed for this report, only 1 was a prospective randomized controlled trial thus making determinations of efficacy difficult. There is no substantive evidence to support the efficacy of rFVIIa as prophylactic or routine therapy during pediatric cardiac surgery. It may prove reasonable as rescue therapy because current observational evidence suggests that potential benefits of rFVIIa for this indication might outweigh the risks. Rescue therapy is appropriate for bleeding that is massive, potentially life-threatening, and refractory to conventional therapy. Nevertheless, extreme caution is advised when considering the administration of rFVIIa to patients who are at risk for thromboembolic complications because rates for clinical and subclinical thrombosis secondary to rFVIIa therapy are unknown at this time. This review is designed to aid practitioners in deciding when and how to administer rFVIIa to pediatric cardiac surgery patients; it is not intended to determine standard-of-care or practice guidelines. There are insufficient data to make evidence-based recommendations. Randomized controlled trials are needed to assess the efficacy of rFVIIa as prophylactic, routine, or rescue therapy and to determine the drug's safety profile particularly with regard to thrombosis. The CCAS rFVIIa Task Force will continue to monitor the literature, gather data, and make updates as more information becomes available.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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