Early experience with activated recombinant factor VII for intractable hemorrhage after cardiovascular surgery

Michael E. Halkos, Jerrold H. Levy, Edward Chen, V. Seenu Reddy, Omar M. Lattouf, Robert A. Guyton, Howard K. Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background. Intractable hemorrhage after complex cardiovascular operations is a serious and potentially lethal complication. We report our experience with the use of activated recombinant factor VIIa (rFVIIa) as rescue therapy for patients with refractory postoperative hemorrhage. Methods. From April 2002 through December 2003, 9 patients received rFVIIa for intractable hemorrhage after cardiovascular surgery. Patients underwent aortic surgery (2), coronary artery bypass graft surgery (4), double valve operations (2), and mitral valve replacement (1). Four of these procedures were reoperations. Intraoperative aprotinin was used in all patients. All patients underwent standard heparinization (300 IU/kg) before cardiopulmonary bypass and reversal with protamine. Results. Five patients underwent reexploration for mediastinal hemorrhage before treatment; 2 were reexplored twice. The average transfusion requirement before rFVIIa administration was 9 U of blood, 7 U of plasma, 22 U of platelets, and 19 U of cryoprecipitate. rFVIIa was administered as an intravenous bolus at 68 to 120 μg/kg. Mean time of administration from the first operation was 10.9 ± 7.2 hours. At the time of activated rFVIIa administration, chest tube drainage averaged 640 mL/h. In all patients, chest tube drainage was dramatically reduced to less than 100 mL/h within 5 hours after drug delivery. None of the patients required reexploration after treatment. There were no postoperative neurologic or cardiovascular complications. Conclusions. When used as rescue therapy for intractable hemorrhage after cardiovascular surgery, rFVIIa may be effective in promoting hemostasis, preventing reexploration, and reducing transfusion requirements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1303-1306
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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