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J Pediatr Surg. 1997 Apr;32(4):594-9.

Surgical repair of congenital diaphragmatic hernia during extracorporeal membrane oxygenation: hemorrhagic complications and the effect of tranexamic acid.

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Department of Pediatric Surgery, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) was incorporated in a strategy of delayed repair of congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) and was used for preoperative stabilization in patients who were unresponsive to maximal conventional treatment. If ECMO was required for preoperative stabilization the diaphragmatic defect was repaired while the patient was on ECMO. In the early experience with this approach all patients suffered from bleeding complications. Therefore, we adopted the use of antifibrinolytic therapy with tranexamic acid (TEA) during and immediately after CDH repair on ECMO. The efficacy of TEA was studied in an unblinded study using historical controls by comparing the postoperative blood loss and the transfusion requirements of red blood cells (RBC) in patient groups treated without (n = 9) and with TEA (n = 10). Patients who received TEA had significantly less bleeding at the surgical site than patients not receiving TEA (57 v 390 mL, P = .005) and had significantly lower RBC transfusion requirements than patients not receiving TEA (1.13 v 2.95 mL/kg/h, P = .03). In the very first two patients of the TEA group we encountered fairly severe thrombotic complications. TEA may have contributed to those complications. Based on the authors' experience they conclude: (1) TEA is effective in reducing postoperative blood loss, hemorrhagic complications, and RBC transfusion requirements associated with CDH repair on ECMO. (2) TEA may be responsible for thrombotic complications. (3) The appropriate, empirically established, dosage and administration patterns of TEA for CDH repair during ECMO seem to be one bolus of 4 mg/kg TEA intravenously 30 minutes before the anticipated CDH repair and a continuous infusion of 1 mg/kg/h TEA during the 24 hours after CDH repair.

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