Coagulation disorders of cardiopulmonary bypass: a review
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BACKGROUND: Postoperative bleeding is one of the most common complications of cardiac surgery. DISCUSSION: Extensive surgical trauma, prolonged blood contact with the artificial surface of the cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) circuit, high doses of heparin, and hypothermia are all possible triggers of a coagulopathy leading to excessive bleeding. Platelet activation and dysfunction also occur and are caused mainly by heparin, hypothermia, and inadequate protamine administration. Heparin and protamine administration based on heparin concentrations as opposed to fixed doses may reduce coagulopathy and postoperative blood loss. CONCLUSIONS: A better comprehension of the multifactorial mechanisms of activation of coagulation, inflammation, and fibrinolytic pathways during CPB may enable a more effective use of the technical and pharmaceutical options which are currently available.
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