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Protamine use during peripheral vascular surgery: a prospective randomized trial.

Author(s): Dorman BH, Elliott BM, Spinale FG, Bailey MK, Walton JS, Robison JG, Brothers TE, Cook MH.

Affiliation(s): Department of Anesthesiology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29425-2207, USA.

Publication date & source: 1995, J Vasc Surg. , 22(3):248-55; discussion 256

PURPOSE: One hundred twenty patients undergoing aortic reconstruction (40), infrainguinal bypass (49), and carotid endarterectomy (31) were prospectively enrolled into a double-blind randomized trial to investigate the utility of routine heparin reversal with protamine. METHODS: All patients underwent systemic heparinization with 90 U/kg body weight during operation and after revascularization were randomized to receive either protamine or saline solution for heparin reversal. Blood loss was measured throughout the surgical procedure, and indexes of coagulation and the requirement for blood and blood products were documented during operation and the first 24 hours after operation. RESULTS: Plasma heparin concentration, partial thromboplastin time, and activated clotting time were significantly higher (p < 0.05) in those receiving saline solution at 20 minutes and 1 hour after administration. Total surgical blood loss was not significantly different between study groups. No significant differences were found in blood product requirement, intravenous fluid administered, hematocrit, or wound hematomas between groups at 24 hours. In addition, no difference was seen in the surgeon's subjective intraoperative assessment of hemostasis after administration of either study drug. Furthermore, after study drug administration protamine was associated with a deleterious effect on subsequent intraoperative blood loss (318 +/- 33 ml vs 195 +/- 18 ml, p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Although protamine effectively reverses heparin anticoagulation, its routine use after elective peripheral vascular surgical reconstruction does not appear to provide any clinical benefit.

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