Heparin and protamine titration do not improve haemostasis in cardiac surgical patients

Linda Shore-Lesserson, David L. Reich, Marietta DePerio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Purpose: Weight-based heparin and protamine dosing strategies for cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) do not take into account interpatient variability in drug sensitivity and may result in bleeding complications. We compared the Hemochron® RxDx heparin and protamine titration system with standard weight based management with regard to heparin dose, protamine dose, and perioperative bleeding. Methods: One hundred and thirty-five cardiac surgical patients were randomised into four groups. Group 1 received standard heparin and protamine management: Group 2 received heparin and protamine by in vitro titration. Group 3 had the heparin dose titrated, and group 4 had the protamine dose titrated. Coagulation tests, bleeding, and transfusion requirements were measured. Results: The initial heparin bolus predicted by the titration was <300 U·kg-1 in all patients. Group 2 received a lower heparin bolus for the initiation of bypass but total heparin doses were not different among groups (group 1 = 365 ± 43, group 2 = 348 ± 73 U·kg-1, group 3 = 394 ± 86 U·kg-1, group 4 = 376 ± 60; P = 0.06). Groups 2 and 4 received a lower initial and a lower total protamine dose (total dose group 1 = 4.03 ± 0.65 mg·kg-1, group 2 = 3.56 ± 1.11 mg·kg-1, group 3 = 4.22 ± 0.90 mg·kg-1, group 4 = 3.38 ± 0.98 mg·kg-1, P = 0.001). The incidence of incomplete heparin neutralisation (P = 0.14) and heparin rebound (P = 0.1) were not different among groups. Postoperative bleeding and transfusion requirements did not differ. Conclusion: In cardiac surgical patients, heparin and protamine titration did predict a lower protamine dose but did not result in a measurable improvement in haemostasis during the perioperative period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-18
Number of pages9
JournalCanadian Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998


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