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Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol. 2012 Jun;26(2):179-98. doi: 10.1016/j.bpa.2012.04.003.

Coagulation management in patients undergoing mechanical circulatory support.

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1
Klinik für Anästhesiologie und Intensivmedizin, Universitätsklinkum Essen, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Hufelandstrasse 55, D-45122 Essen, Germany. klaus@goerlinger.net

Abstract

The incidence of bleeding and thrombo-embolic complications in patients undergoing mechanical circulatory support therapy remains high and is associated with bad outcomes and increased costs. The need for anticoagulation and anti-platelet therapy varies widely between different pulsatile and non-pulsatile ventricular-assist devices (VADs) and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) systems. Therefore, a unique anticoagulation protocol cannot be recommended. Notably, most thrombo-embolic complications occur despite values of conventional coagulation tests being within the targeted range. This is due to the fact that conventional coagulation tests such as international normalised ratio (INR), activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) and platelet count cannot detect hyper- or hypofibrinolysis, hypercoagulability due to tissue factor expression on circulating cells or increased clot firmness, and platelet aggregation as well as response to anti-platelet drugs. By contrast, point-of-care (POC) whole blood viscoelastic tests (thromboelastometry/-graphy) and platelet function tests (impedance or turbidimetric aggregometry) reflect in detail the haemostatic status of patients undergoing mechanical circulatory support therapy and the efficacy of their anticoagulation and antiaggregation therapy. Therefore, monitoring of haemostasis using POC thromboelastometry/-graphy and platelet function analysis is recommended during mechanical circulatory support therapy to reduce the risk of bleeding and thrombo-embolic complications. Notably, these haemostatic tests should be performed repeatedly during mechanical circulatory support therapy since thrombin generation, clot firmness and platelet response may change significantly over time with a high inter- and intra-individual variability. Furthermore, coagulation management can be hampered in non-pulsatile VADs by acquired von Willebrand syndrome, and in general by acquired factor XIII deficiency as well as by heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. In addition, POC testing can be used in bleeding patients to guide calculated goal-directed therapy with allogeneic blood products, haemostatic drugs and coagulation factor concentrates to optimise the haemostasis and to minimise transfusion requirements, transfusion-associated adverse events and to avoid thrombo-embolic complications, as well. However, coagulation management in patients undergoing mechanical circulatory support therapy is somehow like navigating between Scylla and Charybdis, and development of protocols based on POC testing seems to be beneficial.

PMID:
22910089
DOI:
10.1016/j.bpa.2012.04.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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