A substantial number of patients undergoing cardiac surgery are on dual anti-platelet treatment with clopidogrel and aspirin. A disadvantage with this treatment is increased risk of bleeding. Bleeding is a complication of major concern associated with adverse outcome for the patient and increased hospital resource utilization. Great variability in individual response to clopidogrel has been reported. If in vitro measurements of platelet reactivity would correlate with clinical bleeding parameters, potential bleeders could be identified preoperatively.
The aims of this thesis were: (1) to describe the degree of pre-operative platelet inhibition in patients scheduled for primary isolated coronary artery bypass graft surgery; (2) to prospectively investigate whether the pre-operative platelet inhibition correlated with intra- and postoperative bleeding and transfusion requirements; and (3) to test the ability of clinically relevant risk factors to predict re-exploration for bleeding. (4) In addition, a cost analysis was performed on patients re-explored for bleeding, to analyse the magnitude of added resource utilization and costs. Based on this, a cost model of prophylactic treatment with haemostatic drugs was calculated.
Platelet function tests investigated were: (1) flow cytometry, (2) VASP, (3) VerifyNowSystem, (4) PlateletMapping (a modified TEG), and (5) PFA-100.
Clinical risk factors for re-exploration and the influence of antiplatelet and antifibrinolytic therapy were evaluated in a retrospective analysis. Cost analysis at three cardiothoracic centres was performed in a case-control study.
In conclusion, there was no clinically useful correlation between preoperative assessment of platelet inhibition and blood loss or transfusion requirements during coronary artery bypass surgery. Furthermore, there was only modest agreement between the methods evaluating ADP-receptor blockade.
Pre-operative treatment with the P2Y12-receptor inhibitor clopidogrel was an essential risk factor for re-exploration due to bleeding. Except for clopidogrel, no strong clinical factor to predict the risk of re-exploration was identified.
The resource utilisation costs were 47% higher in patients requiring re-exploration due to bleeding than in those not requiring re-exploration. Prolonged stay in the ICU and recovery ward accounted for half of the added cost, a third was due to the costs of surgery, one fifth due to increased cost of transfusions, and <2% was due to haemostatic drug treatment.