The effect of antifibrinolytic prophylaxis on postoperative outcomes in patients undergoing cardiac operations

Abhinav Koul, Victor Ferraris, Daniel L. Davenport, Chandrashekhar Ramaiah

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Antifibrinolytic agents such as aprotinin and epsilon aminocaproic acid limit postoperative bleeding and blood transfusion in patients undergoing cardiac operations using cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). Recent evidence suggests that these agents have adverse side effects that influence operative mortality and morbidity. We studied postoperative bleeding, transfusion rates, and operative outcomes in our patients in order to assess the efficacy of these agents during cardiac operations requiring CPB. We reviewed records of 520 patients undergoing a variety of cardiac operations between January 2005 and May 2009. We measured multiple variables including pre-operative risk factors, antifibrinolytic agent used, and outcomes of operation, such as measures of bleeding and blood transfusion, as well as serious operative morbidity and mortality. Postoperative bleeding rates varied significantly between patients receiving aprotinin and those receiving aminocaproic acid (P < 0.05). There was an associated 12% decrease in operative site bleeding in aprotinin-treated patients compared with aminocaproic acid. There was no significant difference in the transfusion rates of packed red blood cells between patients receiving aminocaproic acid or aprotinin (P > 0.05), though individuals in the aprotinin group did receive FFP more frequently than patients in the aminocaproic acid group (P < 0.05). There was no significant difference in morbidity and mortality rates between patients in either drug group (P > 0.05). Our study shows that aprotinin is more effective at controlling operative site bleeding than aminocaproic acid. Reduced operative site bleeding did not portend better outcome or differences in transfusion requirements. Aminocaproic acid remains a safe and cost-effective option for antifibrinolytic prophylaxis because of unavailability of aprotinin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-42
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Aminocaproic acid
  • Aprotinin
  • Cardiac surgery
  • Chest tube output
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality
  • Postoperative bleeding
  • Transfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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