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In this institution, two antifibrinolytic agents have been in routine use before cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) to prevent bleeding due to fibrinolysis; ϵ-aminocaproic acid (EACA) or tranexamic acid (TA) are administered as intravenous infusions over 2 hours, from the time of anesthetic induction until the onset of CPB. TA is 10 times more potent and binds more strongly to plasminogen than EACA. Data were collected retrospectively on 411 patients undergoing first-time coronary artery bypass grafting with cardiopulmonary bypass who had received one of four therapy regimens: 10 g of EACA (65 patients), 15 g of EACA (60 patients), 6 g of TA (100 patients), or 10 g of TA (75 patients). Patients who did not receive any drug (91) served as controls. Anesthestic technique and the heparin/protamine protocol did not differ. Blood collected by mediastinal and pleural tubes was auto transfused up to 6 hours postoperatively. Both TA and EACA reduced post-CPB bleeding in the first 24 hours. Ten grams of TA was the most effective, resulting in a 52% and 36% reduction in blood loss over controls at 6 and 24 hours, respectively. Although 10 g of TA was more effective than 6 g of TA in blood loss control for the first 6 hours, the difference was not significant at 24 hours. A significantly lower number of patients in the 10 g TA group received blood products than in control (28% v 49%) patients (P = 0.02). Pretreatment with 10 g of TA prevented excessive (over 750 mL in 6 hours) bleeding after CPB.
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