Comparison of viscoelastic measures of coagulation after cardiopulmonary bypass

K. J. Tuman*, B. D. Spiess, R. J. McCarthy, A. D. Ivankovich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


Postoperative hemorrhage remains a major cause of morbidity after cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). Treatment remains empiric because of the need for immediate correction and the lack of availability of rapid intraoperative coagulation monitoring (except for ACT) at most institutions. Thrombelastography (TEG) and Sonoclot analysis (SCT) are measures of viscoelastic properties of blood which allow rapid intraoperative evaluation of coagulation factor and platelet activity as well as overall clot integrity from a single blood sample. Routine coagulation tests (RCT) including activated clotting time (ACT), prothrombin time (PT), partial thromboplastin time (PTT), fibrinogen level (FIB), and platelet count (PLT) were determined and compared to TEG and SCT to assess which best predicted clinical hemostasis after CPB. Forty-two patients prospectively felt to be at high risk for excessive post-CPB bleeding had blood obtained for RCT, TEG, and SCT analysis before systemic heparinization and 30 min after protamine administration. Nine of 42 patients had excessive chest tube drainage, but no reoperations were required. After CPB, mean values for RCT were normal, but there were abnormalities in TEG and SCT parameters that reflect platelet-fibrin interaction. Both TEG and SCT were 100% accurate in predicting bleeding in these nine patients and, overall, both tests were significantly better predictors of postoperative hemorrhage than RCT. We conclude that viscoelastic determinants of clot strength may be abnormal after CPB and that SCT and TEG are, therefore, more useful than RCT for the detection and management of coagulation defects associated with CPB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-75
Number of pages7
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989


  • Blood - coagulation
  • Surgery - cardiovascular

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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