Hemostatic function and inflammatory activation after weaning from cardio pulmonary bypass

Abstract: Cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) contributes to perioperative platelet dysfunction, increased fibrinolysis and impaired coagulation, which can have an impact on postoperative bleeding. During CPB the blood is exposed to foreign surfaces leading to activation of the coagulation system and a systemic inflammatory response with complement and leukocyte activation. Anticoagulation with heparin is used to prevent immediate blood clotting within the circuit. The heparin effect is reversed with protamine sulfate after weaning from CPB. Protamine has been suggested to impair platelet function in high doses although the mechanism is incompletely understood. Platelet dysfunction can promote bleeding which can necessitate transfusion and sometimes surgical re-exploration.After weaning from CPB the residual blood in the heart lung machine is usually retransfused to the patient in order to reduce the need for blood transfusion. The most common technique to transfuse residual blood is to collect the blood from the CPB circuit in an infusion bag (IB). An alternative way to re-transfuse the residual blood is by chasing it through the heart lung machine with Ringers solution, the Ringer chase technique (RC).The aim of this thesis was to examine a possible inhibitory effect of protamine on platelet aggregation. A second aim was to evaluate different techniques for retransfusion after weaning from CPB.Study I and II in this thesis are focused on the protamine effect on platelet aggregation and study III and IV on the quality of the blood in relation to the two different retransfusion techniques.In Study I we found that platelet aggregation evaluated by impedance aggregometry was reduced by approximately 50% after in vivo protamine administration. Protamine added in vitro also reduced platelet aggregation, by itself or in combination with heparin. Study II showed that protamine induces a marked but transient decrease in platelet aggregation already at a protamine-heparin ratio of 0.7:1, which also was sufficient to reverse the heparin anticoagulation as measured by activated clotting time (ACT). No further decrease was observed when additional protamine was given within three minutes. Platelet aggregation had begun to recover 20 minutes after protamine administration.In study III and IV we evaluated possible differences in quality of the retransfused residual blood from the heart-lung machine depending on if it is returned to the patient by the RC-technique or by an IB. Study III focused on biochemical markers of hemostasis, coagulation and fibrinolysis. Study IV concerns biochemical markers of inflammatory activity characterizing the inflammatory response during cardiac surgery with CPB including heparin binding protein (HBP) a new marker of neutrophil activation. CPB is associated with a marked systemic inflammatory response and levels of HBP indicates a pronounced neutrophil activation as part of a systemic inflammatory process. HBP levels during CPB was much higher than previously found during severe inflammatory conditions. We also concluded that the handling of the blood after weaning from CPB reduces platelet function, activates coagulation and fibrinolysis, increases hemolysis and the inflammatory response. Retransfusion of pump blood with the RC-technique was associated with better preserved platelet function, less hemolysis, less signs of activation of coagulation and fibrinolysis and less pronounced inflammatory activity than the commonly used IB technique. In the event of cell salvage technique not being feasible, we suggest that the RC technique is preferable to the IB technique but acknowledge that the clinical importance of this finding in terms of outcomes warrants further investigation

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