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Haemostatic agents in critical illness 

Haemostatic agents in critical illness
Chapter:
Haemostatic agents in critical illness
Author(s):

Beverley J. Hunt

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199600830.003.0052
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date: 17 February 2020

Antifibrinolytics can prevent excessive bleeding during surgery and are also used to reduce established bleeding. By blocking the effects of plasmin, they prevent premature clot breakdown and enhance clot stability. The CRASH-2 trial showed that use of tranexamic acid in those with or at high risk of traumatic haemorrhage reduced mortality by 9%. Importantly for a drug that affects haemostasis, there appears to be no increased risk of either arterial or venous thromboembolism. Aprotinin while an excellent agent in reducing bleeding disproves previous assumption that reducing bleeding improves outcome, for the BART study demonstrated an increased mortality compared with tranexamic acid and EACA. It is still used occasionally in very high risk cardiac surgery patients. DDAVP (desmopressin) stimulates platelet function and is of use in patients with uraemia, although needs to be given with an antifibrinolytics, because it does also stimulate fibrinolytic activity. Off-license use of rVIIa is waning, clinical trials have as yet failed to show major benefit. Moreover, there is a high rate of arterial thrombosis after using rVIIA.

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