Antithrombin Supplementation in Adult Patients Receiving Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation

Perfusion. 2020 Jan;35(1):66-72

Therapeutic anticoagulation occurred more frequently following antithrombin supplementation; however, this difference was not statistically significant. More bleeding events occurred following antithrombin supplementation while observing an increase in platelet transfusions.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is associated with an increased risk of thrombosis and hemorrhage. Acquired antithrombin deficiency often occurs in patients receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, necessitating supplementation to restore adequate anticoagulation. Criteria for antithrombin supplementation in adult extracorporeal membrane oxygenation patients are not well defined.

In this retrospective observational study, adult patients receiving antithrombin supplementation while supported on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation were evaluated. Antithrombin was supplemented when anti-Xa levels were subtherapeutic with unfractionated heparin infusion rates of 15-20 units/kg/h and measured antithrombin activity <50%. Patients were evaluated for changes in degree of anticoagulation and signs of bleeding 24 hours pre- and post-antithrombin supplementation.

A total of 14 patients received antithrombin supplementation while on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. The median percentage of time therapeutic anti-Xa levels were maintained was 0% (0-43%) and 40% (9-84%) in the pre-antithrombin and post-antithrombin groups, respectively (p = 0.13). No difference was observed in the number of patients attaining a single therapeutic anti-Xa level (pre-antithrombin = 6, post-antithrombin = 13; p = 0.37) or unfractionated heparin infusion rate (pre-antithrombin = 7.35 (1.95-10.71) units/kg/h, post-antithrombin = 6.81 (3.45-12.58) units/kg/h; p = 0.33). Thirteen patients (92%) achieved an antithrombin activity at goal following supplementation. Antithrombin activity was maintained within goal range 52% of the time during the replacement period. Four bleeding events occurred pre-antithrombin and 10 events post-antithrombin administration (p = 0.26) with significantly more platelets administered post-antithrombin (pre-antithrombin = 0.5 units, post-antithrombin = 4.5 units; p = 0.01).

Therapeutic anticoagulation occurred more frequently following antithrombin supplementation; however, this difference was not statistically significant. More bleeding events occurred following antithrombin supplementation while observing an increase in platelet transfusions.