Reducing bleeding after cardiac surgery: fibrinogen concentrate vs cryoprecipitate

What is this research about?

After cardiac surgery, it’s common for patients to lose so much blood that they need to replace some blood components (red blood cells, platelets, plasma) through transfusion. Excessive bleeding can happen when fibrinogen, a protein essential to the blood clotting process, is in short supply in a patient’s blood. Having abnormally low levels of fibrinogen for reasons that are not hereditary is a condition called acquired hypofibrinogenemia.  

Hypofibrinogenemia is treated by replacing the patient’s fibrinogen with either cryoprecipitate or fibrinogen concentrate. Although both products come from blood plasma, they differ in purity, fibrinogen content and shelf life. They also have different storage and shipping requirements. In North America, cryoprecipitate is the most common product used, while in most European countries, fibrinogen concentrate is the preferred product. 

This study examined whether fibrinogen concentrate performs as well as cryoprecipitate in patients who have cardiac surgery and require fibrinogen replacement.  

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