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Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2012 Oct;15(4):690-4. Epub 2012 Jul 18.

Is recombinant activated factor VII effective in the treatment of excessive bleeding after paediatric cardiac surgery?

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Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria.


A best evidence topic in paediatric cardiac surgery was written according to a structured protocol. The question addressed was whether recombinant activated factor VII was effective for the treatment of excessive bleeding after paediatric cardiac surgery. Altogether 150 papers were found using the reported search; 13 papers were identified that provided the best evidence to answer the question. The authors, journal, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes and results of these studies were tabulated. A total of 311 children experienced excessive bleeding following cardiac surgery that was refractory to the conventional methods of achieving haemostasis. One hundred and ninety-two patients received the rFVIIa while 116 were in control arm from five studies. The primary end-point was on chest tube drainage, the plasma prothrombin time, the activated partial thromboplastin time after the administration of rFVIIa and the secondary end-point was reduction of blood products transfusion. Thrombosis was a complication in 8 patients (4.2%); three deaths (1.6%) but not attributable to thromboembolic events following the use of rFVIIa. Most of the studies failed to clearly state the doses but the extracted doses ranged between 30 and 180 µg/kg/dose, the interval between doses ranged between 15 and 120 min with a maximum of four doses. However, most of the patients had 180 µg/kg/dose with interval between dose of 2 h and maximum of two doses with dosage moderated with respect to weight, prior coagulopathy and responsiveness. There were two randomized studies with good sample size. One showed no significant differences in the secondary end points between the two arms and noted no adverse complications. However, the rFVIIa was used prophylactically. The other observed that there were no increase in thromboembolic events rather rFVIIa was effective in decreasing excessive bleeding that may complicate cardiac surgery in children. In conclusion, the studies were in support of the notion that the use of rFVIIa was effective in decreasing excessive bleeding which may complicate paediatric cardiac surgery, and care should be exercised when using it in the children on ECMO circuit.

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