Intraoperative hetastarch infusion impairs hemostasis after cardiac operations

Jeffrey T. Cope, David Banks, Michael C. Mauney, Tananchai Lucktong, Kimberly S. Shockey, Irving L. Kron, Curtis G. Tribble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Background. An outbreak of excessive bleeding after cardiac operations occurred at our institution when 5% albumin was in short supply and hetastarch became the preferred intraoperative colloid. As hetastarch may impair coagulation, we investigated the effects of its intraoperative administration on post-cardiac surgical hemostasis. Methods. Indices of postoperative hemostasis were analyzed in 189 consecutive patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting. Three groups were compared: one group (n = 68) received a mean of 796 mL of hetastarch only in the operating room (a few minutes after cessation of cardiopulmonary bypass), another group (n = 59) received a mean of 856 mL postoperatively only, and a third group (n = 62) received no hetastarch. Results. Compared with the other two groups, those patients administered hetastarch intraoperatively exhibited significant reductions in hematocrit and platelet count, a significant prolongation in the prothrombin time, and significant increases in both blood loss and hemostatic drug requirement. Also identified were obvious trends toward a greater transfusion requirement and reexploration rate for bleeding in the latter group. Conclusions. Hetastarch infusion just after weaning from cardiopulmonary bypass produces a clinically important impairment in post-cardiac surgical hemostasis. Intraoperative use of this agent during heart operations should be avoided until the safe timing of its administration is clarified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-82
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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