Authors: Ashley C. Brown, PhD et al
Anesthesiology published on 2 2016
Background: Quantitative and qualitative differences in the hemostatic systems exist between neonates and adults, including the presence of “fetal” fibrinogen, a qualitatively dysfunctional form of fibrinogen that exists until 1 yr of age. The consequences of “fetal” fibrinogen on clot structure in neonates, particularly in the context of surgery-associated bleeding, have not been well characterized. Here, the authors examine the sequential changes in clotting components and resultant clot structure in a small sample of neonates undergoing cardiac surgery and cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB).
Methods: Blood samples were collected from neonates (n = 10) before surgery, immediately after CPB, and after the transfusion of cryoprecipitate (i.e., adult fibrinogen component). Clots were formed from patient samples or purified neonatal and adult fibrinogen. Clot structure was analyzed using confocal microscopy.
Results: Clots formed from plasma obtained after CPB and after transfusion were more porous than baseline clots. Analysis of clots formed from purified neonatal and adult fibrinogen demonstrated that at equivalent fibrinogen concentrations, neonatal clots lack three-dimensional structure, whereas adult clots were denser with significant three-dimensional structure. Clots formed from a combination of purified neonatal and adult fibrinogen were less homogenous than those formed from either purified adult or neonatal fibrinogen.
Conclusions: The results of this study confirm that significant differences exist in clot structure between neonates and adults and that neonatal and adult fibrinogen may not integrate well. These findings suggest that differential treatment strategies for neonates should be pursued to reduce the demonstrated morbidity of blood product transfusion.