Efficacy and safety of fibrinogen concentrate in surgical patients: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy; Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Academician EN Meshalkin Novosibirsk State Budget Research Institute of Circulation Pathology, Novosibirsk, Russia; Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy; Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Academician EN Meshalkin Novosibirsk State Budget Research Institute of Circulation Pathology, Novosibirsk, Russia.

Journal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia. 2016;30((5):):1196-204.

Clinical Commentary

Dr. MJR Desborough, Haematology/Transfusion Medicine, NHS Blood and Transplant, Oxford, UK.

What is known?

Bleeding is an important and potentially preventable adverse event associated with surgery. Prevention, or treatment, of bleeding must be balanced against the risk of arterial or venous thrombotic events. Fibrin, which is formed from fibrinogen, is a key part of blood clot formation. In situations where a patient’s fibrinogen concentration is low, fibrinogen concentrate (or another source of fibrinogen such as cryoprecipitate) is often administered. However it is less clear whether fibrinogen concentrate is effective and safe for patients with a normal baseline fibrinogen level.

An alternate, or adjuvant approach, is the use of anti-fibrinolytic agents (which prevent fibrin from being broken down) such as tranexamic acid and epsilon aminocaproic acid. These drugs are increasingly used to prevent peri-operative blood loss and do not appear to be associated with significant adverse events.

A systematic review and meta-analysis published in 2013 on fibrinogen concentrate in surgical patients found no difference in mortality but found a significant reduction in the incidence of red cell transfusion (Wikkelsø et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2013;8:CD008864).

What did this paper set out to examine?

The authors set out to compare efficacy and safety of fibrinogen concentrate in surgical patients in a systematic review and meta-analysis. Randomised controlled trials including adult or paediatric surgery were included. Trials were included if they compared fibrinogen concentrate to placebo or another haemostatic therapy (fresh frozen plasma, platelets, cryoprecipitate or coagulation factor concentrates). The only exclusion was congenital (inherited) fibrinogen deficiency.

The primary outcome was all-cause mortality. Secondary outcomes were blood loss; proportion of patients who received a red cell transfusion; number of red cell units used; surgical revisions for bleeding; and thrombotic complications.

What did they show?

The authors identified 14 randomised controlled trials with 1035 patients. The majority of trials were in the setting of cardiac surgery. There was a high level of variation in the comparators that were used, the trigger for infusion of fibrinogen concentrate; prophylactic or therapeutic use; the timing of administration; and the dose of fibrinogen concentrate. The authors reported that half of the included studies were at high or moderate risk of bias.

The risk of all-cause mortality was significantly lower in the group treated with fibrinogen concentrate. The event rate for mortality was very low with the majority of trials having no deaths in either arm. The meta-analysis included an unpublished paper and exclusion of this paper form the meta-analysis resulted in a non-significant difference in mortality (Mengoli et al. J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth 2017;31:e33-5).

Blood loss; number of red cell units transfused; and proportion of patients who received a red cell transfusion were significantly lower for those treated with fibrinogen concentrate. No difference was found in the risk of surgical revisions for bleeding or thrombotic complications.

What are the implications for practice and for future work?

This meta-analysis suggests that fibrinogen concentrate may reduce peri-operative mortality, bleeding and transfusion requirements. However the considerable variation in triggers, comparators and settings suggests that further randomised controlled trial data will be necessary to demonstrate efficacy in this setting. It is unclear whether anti-fibrinolytic drugs such as tranexamic acid or epsilon aminocaproic acid were used in the trials included in this meta-analysis. Now that these agents have been widely adopted into clinical guidelines, the efficacy and risk profile of fibrinogen concentrate may differ and this should be taken into account in future randomised controlled trials.

References

Fibrinogen/*therapeutic use Humans Perioperative Care/*methods Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic *Surgical Procedures, Operative Treatment Outcome efficacy fibrinogen hemorrhage safety surgery
Abstract
OBJECTIVES To investigate the efficacy and safety of fibrinogen concentrate (FC) in surgical patients. DESIGN Meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies (RCTs). SETTING Perioperative. PARTICIPANTS Adult and pediatric surgical patients. INTERVENTIONS A search of PubMed/Medline, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Transfusion Evidence Library, Google Scholar, and the proceedings from major international anesthesiology meetings up to February 1, 2016 for RCTs that compared FC with placebo or other comparators. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS The primary outcome was all-cause mortality. Pooled risk ratios and mean differences (MDs) were computed with either fixed-effects or random-effects models. The study included 14 RCTs comprising 1,035 patients; the majority of patients underwent cardiac surgery. All-cause mortality was lower in the fibrinogen group (4/432 [0.9%] v 15/430 [3.5%]; risk ratio 0.26; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.09-0.78; p = 0.02; heterogeneity statistic (l2) = 0%). The use of FC was associated with reduced bleeding (MD -127 mL; 95% CI -207 to -47; p = 0.002; I2= 54%) and a lower number of red blood cells units transfused versus comparator (MD -0.9; 95% CI -1.3 to -0.5; p<0.001; I2 = 42%). There were no differences in the rates of thrombotic events and myocardial infarction. CONCLUSIONS In surgical patients, FC was associated with reduced bleeding and a lower number of red blood cell units transfused, and it also might reduce mortality. However, none of the analyzed trials was powered for estimation of survival and adverse events with FC use. Half of the included studies were of high or moderate risk of bias. The evidence primarily came from cardiac surgery settings.
Study details
Study Design : Systematic Review
Language : English
Credits : Bibliographic data from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine