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Oberhoffer, Martin; Eifert, Sandra; Jaeger, Beate; Blessing, Frithjof; Beiras-Fernandez, A.; Seidel, D.; Reichart, B. (2016): Postoperative Heparin-Mediated Extracorporeal Low-Density Lipoprotein Fibrinogen Precipitation Aphaeresis Prevents Early Graft Occlusion after Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting. In: Surgery Journal, Vol. 2, No. 2, E5-E9


Background Early graft occlusion due to thromboembolic events is a well-known complication after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Fibrinogen, the coagulation factor I, is a glycoprotein that is transformed by thrombin into fibrin. It plays amajor role in thrombus formation and is highly elevated after CABG. Our aim was to determine if postoperative lowering of fibrinogen levels by H.E.L.P. (heparin-mediated extracorporeal low-density lipoprotein [LDL] fibrinogen precipitation) aphaeresis could reduce the rate of early graft occlusion in patients with hypercholesterolemia undergoing CABG. Methods Between December 2004 and September 2009, 36 male patients with hypercholesterolemia (mean LDL cholesterol 128 +/- 12 mg/dL), mean age 58 +/- 9 years, underwent CABG. Mean preoperative fibrinogen level was 387 +/- 17 mg/dL. H.E.L.P. aphaeresis was postoperatively performed when fibrinogen levels exceeded 350 mg/dL on day 1 and 250 mg/dL every consecutive day up to day 8. Pre- and postaphaeresis blood samples were obtained and plasma fibrinogen level reduction was calculated. Early graft occlusion was evaluated by means of coronary angiography or multislice computed tomography before discharge. Results A total of 128 distal anastomoses were performed in 36 patients (mean 3.6/patient). Postoperatively, 191 H.E.L.P. aphaeresis sessions were performed (mean 5.3/patient). Fibrinogen levels were lowered from 391 +/- 10 mg/dL (preaphaeresis) to 171 +/- 5 mg/dL (postaphaeresis;p < 0.001). Coronary angiography (multislice computed tomography in 7 patients) revealed graft patency in 125 of 128 grafts (98% patency) with three occluded venous grafts to target vessels of 1.5 mm. H.E.L.P. aphaeresis-related complications were limited to hypotensive episodes in two patients and bacteremia in one patient. Conclusions H.E.L.P. apheresis offers an easy, save, and efficient method to decrease fibrinogen postoperatively in patients having CABG. Showing excellent graft patency rates in comparison to the literature, this method is a promising tool to reduce early graft occlusion after CABG.