Objectives: Release of thromboxane (Tx) A2 by platelets may be one of multiple factors that are responsible for lung injury after cardiopulmonary bypass, leading to pulmonary vasoconstriction and impaired oxygenation. In experimental models, the inhibition of Tx receptor or its production improved lung function. The use of aspirin, which is used widely in the treatment of ischemic heart disease because of its antiplatelet activity, is usually discontinued a week before the patient undergoes the operation to restore normal platelet hemostatic function. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between the time of cessation of aspirin before coronary artery bypass surgery, and postoperative oxygenation and bleeding.
Design: A prospective clinical study comparing the effect of aspirin on postoperative oxygenation in patients who had been treated or had not been treated with aspirin.
Setting: Tx levels in the pericardial fluid, oxygenation, and bleeding were compared between the two groups.
Patients: Thirty-two patients with coronary artery disease who were undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting. Fourteen of these patients received aspirin until the day of the operation, whereas 18 patients stopped receiving aspirin at least 1 week before undergoing the operation.
Main results: Mean (± SD) Tx levels in the pericardial fluid were significantly lower in the aspirin group (117 ± 47 pg/mL) compared to those in the control group (1,306 ± 2,048 pg/mL; p = 0.02). The duration of ventilation after the operation was significantly longer in the nonaspirin group (9.6 ± 5.6 h vs 3.8 ± 1.4 h, respectively; p = 0.0004). Po2 reached a higher level while patients breathed 100% O2 in the aspirin group (235 ± 54 mm Hg vs 176 ± 27 mm Hg, respectively; p = 0.001). The mean amount of bleeding during the first 24 h after surgery was increased in the aspirin group (710 ± 202 mL) compared with the nonaspirin group (539 ± 143 mL; p = 0.01), but these patients did not require more transfusions.
Conclusions: The administration of aspirin until the operation may improve oxygenation with only a slight increase in bleeding. This improvement is probably mediated by antiplatelet activity and Tx inhibition by aspirin.