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Radical prostatectomy is at high risk for intraoperative and postoperative bleeding due to surgical trauma, release of urokinase and tissue type plasminogen activator. We conducted this prospective, observational multi-centre study to assess the degree of systemic fibrinolysis or hypercoagulation in the perioperative period. We studied serial changes in standard laboratory values and in thrombelastographic (TEG®; Haemoscope Corporation, Skokie, IL, USA) parameters including lysis at 30 and 60 min (LY-30, LY-60), alpha-angle (α) and maximum amplitude.
In all, 49 patients undergoing radical retropubic prostatectomy in five Italian University Hospitals were included. Blood samples were taken before surgery (T1), at the removal of the prostate (T2), 4 h after surgery (T3) and then 1 day after surgery (T4). Native blood samples were analysed using a thrombelastograph Haemoscope 5000 (Haemoscope Corporation).
We did not see any relevant activation of fibrinolysis during any stage. Intraoperatively, we showed even more activated blood coagulation with consumption of fibrinogen and a reduced TEG® percentage clot lysis. Only at the first postoperative sample point we saw a trend towards a more fibrinolytic state indicated by increasing partial thromboplastin time, LY-30 and LY-60 values, and a peak of the fibrin degradation product D-dimers. This is consistent with a normal reaction to the hypercoagulable state before and is unlikely to be due to an intraoperative tissue type plasminogen activator release. We found no evidence of an uncontrolled activation of fibrinolysis on the day after surgery. On the contrary, α-values which indicate the rate of clot formation and which increase during hypercoagulation showed the tendency to rise slightly compared with the preoperative value.
Neither standard coagulation parameters nor TEG® values showed any significant activation of fibrinolysis or of hypercoagulation in the preoperative period. Nevertheless, hypercoagulation seems to have a substantial clinical impact as it has been shown that cardiovascular complications and pulmonary embolism were the most common causes of death after retropubic prostatectomy.
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