Despite the progress made in the development of cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) equipment, systemic anticoagulation with unfractionated heparin and post-bypass neutralization with protamine are still used in most perfusion procedures. However, there are a number of situations where unfractionated heparin, protamine or both cannot be used for various reasons. Intolerance of protamine can be addressed with extracorporeal heparin removal devices, perfusion with (no) low systemic heparinization and, to some degree, by perfusion with alternative anticoagulants. Various alternative anticoagulation regimens have been used in cases of intolerance to unfractionated heparin, including extreme hemodilution, low molecular weight heparins, danaparoid, ancrod, r-hirudin, abciximab, tirofiban, argatroban and others. In the presence of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) and thrombosis, the use of r-hirudin appears to be an acceptable solution which has been well studied. The main issue with r-hirudin is the difficulty in monitoring its activity during CPB, despite the fact that ecarin coagulation time assessment is now available. A more recent approach is based on selective blockage of platelet aggregation by means of monoclonal antibodies directed to GPIIb/IIIa receptors (abciximab) or the use of a GPIIb/IIIa inhibitor (tirofiban). An 80% blockage of the GPIIb/IIIa receptors and suppression of platelet aggregation to less than 20% allows the giving of unfractionated heparin and running CPB in a standard fashion despite HIT and thrombosis. Likewise, at the end of the procedure, unfractionated heparin is neutralized with protamine as usual and donor platelets are transfused if necessary. GPIIb/IIIa inhibitors are frequently used in interventional cardiology and, therefore, are available in most hospitals.
Full or more than target flow was achieved in 97% of the patients studied undergoing CPB with self-expanding venous cannulas and gravity drainage. Remote venous cannulation with self-expanding cannulas provides similar flows as central cannulation. Augmentation of venous return is no longer necessary.
Despite the smaller diameter of the vena cavae compared to the right atrium, and a smaller internal diameter of percutaneous cardiopulmonary bypass cannulae compared to classic ones; the centrifugal pump improves the venous drainage significantly so that minimally invasive open heart procedures can be performed under optimal and safe perfusion conditions.
The CardioVention system with its concept of limited priming volume and exposed foreign surface area, improves gas exchange probably because of the absence of detectable hemodilution, and appears to limit the decrease in the thrombocyte count which may be ascribed to the reduced surface. Despite the volume and surface constraints, no hemolysis could be detected throughout the 6 h full-flow perfusion period.
Devices for venous cannulation have seen significant progress over time: the original, rigid steel cannulas have evolved toward flexible plastic cannulas with wire support that prevents kinking, very thin walled wire wound cannulas allowing for percutaneous application, and all sorts of combinations. In contrast to all these rectilinear venous cannula designs, which present the same cross-sectional area over their entire intravascular path, the smartcanula concept of "collapsed insertion and expansion in situ" is the logical next step for venous access. Automatically adjusting cross-sectional area up to a pre-determined diameter or the vessel lumen provides optimal flow and ease of use for both, insertion and removal. Smartcanula performance was assessed in a small series of patients (76 +/- 17 kg) undergoing redo procedures. The calculated target pump flow (2.4 L/min/m2) was 4.42 +/- 61 L/ min. Mean pump flow achieved during cardiopulmonary bypass was 4.84 +/- 87 L/min or 110% of the target. Reduced atrial chatter, kink resistance in situ, and improved blood drainage despite smaller access orifice size, are the most striking advantages of this new device. The benefits of smart cannulation are obvious in remote cannulation for limited access cardiac surgery, but there are many other cannula applications where space is an issue, and that is where smart cannulation is most effective.
When compared with uncoated oxygenator, PMEA coated oxygenator exhibited increased thrombus resistance with lower inlet pressure and lower thrombocyte consumption. In both groups, trauma to red cells was minimal, emphasizing the efficient design of this type of oxygenator.
In this experimental set-up, the Smart suction system avoids damage to red cells and affects platelet count less than the Cell Saver system which induces important blood cell destruction, as any suction device mixing air and blood, as well as severe hypoproteinemia with its metabolic, clotting and hemodynamic consequences.
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