Is Aprotinin Safe to Use in a Cohort at Increased Risk for Thrombotic Events: Results From a Randomized, Prospective Trial in Off-Pump Coronary Artery Bypass


Background: Multiple randomized trials have established a favorable safety profile for aprotinin use during cardiac surgery, but recent database analyses suggest an increased risk of adverse thrombotic events. Our group previously demonstrated that off-pump coronary artery bypass (OPCAB) is linked to a postoperative hypercoagulable state. In this study, we tested whether aprotinin influences thrombotic events after OPCAB. Methods: Patients randomly received saline (n = 61) or aprotinin (2 × 106 kallikrein inhibiting units (KIU) loading dose, 0.5 × 106 KIU/hour [n = 59]) during OPCAB. Aprotinin levels (KIU/mL) were analyzed before, and 30 minutes (peak) and 4 hours after the loading dose. Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was calculated daily based on Cockcroft equation with acute kidney injury (AKI) defined as eGFR less than 75% of baseline. Major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events (MACCE) were monitored during the first year, including acute graft failure by predischarge computed tomographic angiography. Results: Compared with placebo, the aprotinin group developed a significantly lower eGFR on day 3 (p < 0.006), but this difference resolved by day 5. Peak aprotinin level correlated with the degree of eGFR decline noted on day 3 (r = 0.56, p < 0.03) and independently predicted postoperative AKI (odds ratio 8.8, p < 0.008). The receiver operating characteristic analysis demonstrated that peak aprotinin level strongly predicts AKI (area under the curve = 0.86, 95% confidence interval 0.69 to 1.00). The percentage of patients reaching the composite MACCE endpoint was significantly reduced in the aprotinin versus placebo group (12 vs 34%, p = 0.01). Conclusions: Compared with placebo, aprotinin use was associated with less MACCE but more AKI after OPCAB. The strong relationship between the peak aprotinin level and subsequent AKI suggests weight-based protocols for dosing aprotinin may reduce this risk. © 2008 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Publication Title

Annals of Thoracic Surgery