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PLoS One. 2016 Sep 2;11(9):e0162396. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162396. eCollection 2016.

Active Bleeding after Cardiac Surgery: A Prospective Observational Multicenter Study.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Arnaud de Villeneuve Academic Hospital, Montpellier University, Montpellier, France.
Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle, Endocrinology Department, CNRS UMR 5203, INSERM U1191, University of Montpellier, 34094, Montpellier, France.
PhyMedExp, University of Montpellier, INSERM U1046, CNRS UMR 9214, 34295, Montpellier, cedex 5, France.
Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Louis Pradel Academic Hospital, Lyon Bron, France.
Clinical Research and Epidemiology Unit, Academic Hospital, Montpellier, France.
Clinical Investigation Center, Academic Hospital, Montpellier, France.
Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Sorbonne University UPMC Univ Paris 06, UMR INSERM 1166 and Post-Genomic Platform, IHU ICAN, Paris, France.
Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Laënnec Academic Hôpital, Nantes, France.
Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Academic Hospital, Poitiers, France.
Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine II, Academic Hospital, Bordeaux-Pessac, France.



To estimate the incidence of active bleeding after cardiac surgery (AB) based on a definition directly related on blood flow from chest drainage; to describe the AB characteristics and its management; to identify factors of postoperative complications.


AB was defined as a blood loss > 1.5 ml/kg/h for 6 consecutive hours within the first 24 hours or in case of reoperation for hemostasis during the first 12 postoperative hours. The definition was applied in a prospective longitudinal observational study involving 29 French centers; all adult patients undergoing cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass were included over a 3-month period. Perioperative data (including blood product administration) were collected. To study possible variation in clinical practice among centers, patients were classified into two groups according to the AB incidence of the center compared to the overall incidence: "Low incidence" if incidence is lower and "High incidence" if incidence is equal or greater than overall incidence. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify risk factors of postoperative complications.


Among 4,904 patients, 129 experienced AB (2.6%), among them 52 reoperation. Postoperative bleeding loss was 1,000 [820;1,375] ml and 1,680 [1,280;2,300] ml at 6 and 24 hours respectively. Incidence of AB varied between centers (0 to 16%) but was independent of in-centre cardiac surgical experience. Comparisons between groups according to AB incidence showed differences in postoperative management. Body surface area, preoperative creatinine, emergency surgery, postoperative acidosis and red blood cell transfusion were risk factors of postoperative complication.


A blood loss > 1.5 ml/kg/h for 6 consecutive hours within the first 24 hours or early reoperation for hemostasis seems a relevant definition of AB. This definition, independent of transfusion, adjusted to body weight, may assess real time bleeding occurring early after surgery.

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