Shifts of Transfusion Demand in Cardiac Surgery After Implementation of Rotational Thromboelastometry-Guided Transfusion Protocols: Analysis of the HEROES-CS (HEmostasis Registry of patiEntS in Cardiac Surgery) Observational, Prospective Open Cohort Database

Gerhardus J. A. J. M. Kuiper*, Lieve T. van Egmond, Yvonne M. C. Henskens, Paul M. Roekaerts, Jos G. Maessen, Hugo ten Cate, Wolfgang F. Buhre, Marcus D. Lance

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Web of Science)


Objectives: Rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM)-guided transfusion algorithms in cardiac surgery have been proven to be successful in reducing blood loss in randomized controlled trials. Using an institutional hemostasis registry of patients in cardiac surgery (HEROES-CS), the authors hypothesized that the use of ROTEM-guided transfusion algorithms would save blood products and overall costs in cardiac surgery in every day practice.

Design: Observational, prospective open cohort database.

Setting: Single-center academic hospital.

Participants: Cardiac surgery patients.

Interventions: Implementation of ROTEM-guided bleeding management.

Measurements and Main Results: A classical-guided algorithm and a ROTEM-guided algorithm were used for patient blood management in 2 cohorts. Primary outcome was the use and amount of blood products and hemostatic medication. Secondary outcomes were amount of rethoracotomies, length of stay, and 30-day mortality. Finally, costs and savings were calculated. The classical -guided cohort comprised 204 patients, and ROTEM-guided cohort comprised 151 patients. Baseline characteristics showed excellent similarities after propensity score matching of 202 patients. Blood loss was lower after ROTEM guidance (p <0.001). Absolute risk reduction was 17% for red blood cells (p = 0.024), 12% for fresh frozen plasma (p = 0.019), and 4% for thrombocyte concentrates (p = 0.582). More tranexamic acid was given, but not more fibrinogen concentrate, while desmopressin was given less often. Hospital length of stay was reduced by an overall median of 2 and a mean of 4 days (p <0.001). Mortality and rethoracotomy rates were not affected. Potential savings were about (sic)4,800 ($5,630) per patient.

Conclusions: Implementation of a ROTEM-guided transfusion algorithm in cardiac surgery patients reduced the use of blood products and hemostatic medication, hereby saving costs. Reductions in mortality and rethoracotomy rates could not be found. (C) 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-317
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • thromboelastometry
  • transfusion
  • algorithm
  • bleeding
  • cardiac surgery
  • mortality
  • RISK

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