Objective: To determine which strategies are currently used for (anti)coagulation management and blood conservation during cardiac surgery in Canada. Design: Institutional survey. Setting: University hospital. Participants: All sites performing cardiac surgery in Canada. Interventions: None. Measurements and Main Results: The response rate was 85%. Anticoagulation with heparin is monitored routinely through the activated coagulation time (ACT). Less than 10% of centers use heparin concentrations (Hepcon HMS, Medtronic), thromboelastography, or other point-of-care tests perioperatively. Eighty percent of centers routinely use tranexamic acid as the primary antifibrinolytic agent; however aprotinin until recently, was used more commonly for patients at increased risk for bleeding. Retrograde autologous prime is commonly used (62%); however, cell savers are uncommon for routine patients undergoing cardiac surgery (29%). Although most hospitals use a hematocrit of 20% to 21% for transfusing red blood cells, more than 50% of intensive care units do not have written guidelines for the administration of protamine, fresh frozen plasma, platelets, or factor VIIa. At least one third of centers do not audit their transfusion practices regularly. Conclusions: The majority of Canadian institutions do not use point-of-care tests other than ACT. Most institutions do not have algorithms for management of bleeding following cardiac surgery and at least 30% do not monitor their transfusion practice perioperatively. Cardiac surgery patients in Canada may benefit from a standardized approach to blood conservation in the perioperative period. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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