Validation of a definition of excessive postoperative bleeding in infants undergoing cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass

Rachel S. Bercovitz*, Allison C. Shewmake, Debra K. Newman, Robert A. Niebler, John P. Scott, Eckehard Stuth, Pippa M. Simpson, Ke Yan, Ronald K. Woods

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective: To derive and validate an objective definition of postoperative bleeding in neonates and infants undergoing cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. Methods: Using a retrospective cohort of 124 infants and neonates, we included published bleeding definitions and cumulative chest tube output over different postoperative periods (eg, 2, 12, or 24 hours after intensive care unit admission) in a classification and regression tree model to determine chest tube output volumes that were associated with red blood cell transfusions and surgical re-exploration for bleeding in the first 24 hours after intensive care unit admission. After the definition of excessive bleeding was determined, it was validated via a prospective cohort of 77 infants and neonates. Results: Excessive bleeding was defined as ≥7 mL/kg/h for ≥2 consecutive hours in the first 12 postoperative hours and/or ≥84 mL/kg total for the first 24 postoperative hours and/or surgical re-exploration for bleeding or cardiac tamponade physiology in the first 24 postoperative hours. Excessive bleeding was associated with longer length of hospital stay, increased 30-day readmission rate, and increased transfusions in the postoperative period. Conclusions: The proposed standard definition of excessive bleeding is based on readily obtained objective data and relates to important early clinical outcomes. Application and validation by other institutions will help determine the extent to which our specialty should consider this definition for both clinical investigation and quality improvement initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2112-2124.e2
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • blood loss
  • blood transfusions
  • cardiac surgery
  • cardiopulmonary bypass
  • congenital heart disease
  • infants
  • postoperative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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