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The rate of bleeding complications following arterial switch operation is too low to independently justify a prospective randomised study for benefit from recombinant factor VIIa. We aimed to evaluate factor VIIa in a pilot study.
We performed a retrospective cohort study of patients undergoing arterial switch operation from 2012 to 2017. Nearest-neighbour propensity score matching on age, gender, weight, and associated cardiac defects was used to match 27 controls not receiving recombinant factor VIIa to 30 patients receiving recombinant factor VIIa. Fisher’s exact test was performed to compare categorical variables. Wilcoxon’s rank-sum test was used to compare continuous variables between cohorts.
Post-operative thrombotic complications were not associated with factor VIIa administration (Odds Ratio (OR) 0.28, 95% CI 0.005–3.77, p = 0.336), nor was factor VIIa administration associated with any re-explorations for bleeding. No intraoperative transfusion volumes were different between the recombinant factor VIIa cohort and controls. Post-operative prothrombin time (10.8 [10.3–12.3] versus 15.9 [15.1–17.2], p < 0.001) and international normalised ratio (0.8 [0.73–0.90] versus 1.3 [1.2–1.4], p < 0.001]) were lower in recombinant factor VIIa cohort relative to controls.
In spite of a higher post-bypass packed red blood cell transfusion requirement, patients receiving recombinant factor VIIa had a similar incidence of bleeding post-operatively. With no difference in thrombotic complications, and with improved post-operative laboratory haemostasis, a prospective randomised study is warranted to evaluate recombinant factor VIIa.