Pharmacologic preservation of the hemostatic system during cardiac surgery.
Bleeding after cardiac surgery remains a major potential problem. Numerous pharmacologic approaches to attenuating hemostatic system activation in cardiac surgery patients have been studied to further improve patient management. Therapeutic approaches studied include inhibiting thrombin generation or activation, preserving platelet function, and decreasing the need for transfusion of allogeneic blood products. Pharmacologic approaches to reduce bleeding and transfusion requirements in cardiac surgery patients are based on either preventing or reversing the defects associated with the CPB-induced coagulopathy. The increasing use of platelet inhibitors (clopidogrel and IIb/IIIa receptor antagonists) and new anticoagulants (low-molecular weight heparins, pentasaccharide, recombinant hirudin, bivalirudin, and argatroban) also pose interesting problems in managing cardiac surgery patients. Aprotinin and lysine analogues (epsilon-aminocaproic acid and tranexamic acid) have become mainstay therapeutic agents to prevent bleeding and the potential need for allogeneic transfusion. Newer therapies that are important to consider include the potential of recombinant activated factor VIIa as a therapy for refractory bleeding after cardiac surgery.
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