Study objectives: Cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) is associated with major inflammatory triggers that cause marked activation of the microcirculation. This inflammatory response is associated with significant organ dysfunction. How this response causes organ dysfunction is not well understood; consequently, few interventions exist to prevent or treat it. In other acute inflammatory conditions, such as sepsis, increased coagulation activation in the microcirculation may be a cause of organ injury. We documented the association between coagulation activation and organ dysfunction to investigate whether coagulation activation also plays a role in organ injury following cardiac surgery with CPB.
Design: Prospective study of 30 patients undergoing cardiac surgery with CPB. Prothrombin fragment (PTF) 1 + 2 and plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI) activity were measured, and levels correlated with postoperative measures of organ function including the left-ventricular stroke work index, the Pao2/fraction of inspired oxygen (Fio2) ratio, and creatinine levels.
Results: PTF levels increased eightfold (p < 0.05), and PAI activity increased threefold (p < 0.05) over the first 4 h after CPB. PTF levels were correlated with deteriorations in the left-ventricular stroke work index (p = 0.04), the Pao2/Fio2 ratio (p = 0.02), and creatinine levels (p = 0.02).
Conclusions: Levels of coagulation activation are associated with markers of postoperative organ dysfunction. Additional studies are warranted to investigate whether strategies that limit coagulation activation are associated with reductions in postoperative organ dysfunction.