Is There a “Blind Spot” in Point-of-Care Testing for Residual Heparin After Cardiopulmonary Bypass? A Prospective, Observational Cohort Study

Clin Appl Thromb Hemost. 2020 Jan-Dec;26:1076029620946843

This difference suggests that an interference in the detection of residual heparinization with point-of-care methods exists right after the application of protamine, which seems to subside after a short time span.

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Identifying the cause of a bleeding complication after cardiac surgery can be crucial. This study sought to clarify whether the application of unprocessed autologous pump blood influences anti-factor Xa activity after cardiac surgery and evaluated 2 point-of-care methods regarding their ability to identify an elevated anti-factor Xa activity at different timepoints after cardiopulmonary bypass. Anti-factor Xa activity, heparin/protamine titration and the clotting time ratio of thromboelastometry in the INTEM and HEPTEM were measured at baseline (T1), after the application of protamine (T2) and after the complete application of autologous pump blood (T3). Anti-factor Xa activity decreased significantly between T2 and T3 as well did the absolute number of patients with an elevated anti-factor Xa activity. Receiver Operating Curve analyses were performed for both point-of-care methods. At T2 neither could identify patients with an elevated anti-factor Xa activity, while both methods were able to do so at T3 with high sensitivity and specificity. This difference suggests that an interference in the detection of residual heparinization with point-of-care methods exists right after the application of protamine, which seems to subside after a short time span. Nevertheless, results of point-of-care testing for residual heparinization after cardiopulmonary bypass need to be interpreted considering the protamine-heparin ratio and the timepoint of protamine administration.