Levosimendan, a calcium sensitizer and potassium channel opener, has been demonstrated to improve myocardial function without increasing oxygen consumption and to show protective effects in other organs. Recently, a prospective, randomized controlled trial (RCT) revealed an association between levosimendan use and a possible increased risk of bleeding postoperatively. Levosimendan’s anti-platelet effects have been shown in in vitro studies. Current studies do not provide sufficient data to support a relation between perioperative levosimendan administration and increased bleeding risk.
Our goal was to investigate the relation between perioperative levosimendan administration and increased bleeding risk using a meta-analysis study design.
The PubMed, Ovid, EMBASE and Cochrane Library databases were searched for relevant RCTs before July 1, 2019. The outcome parameters included reoperation secondary to increased bleeding in the postoperative period, the amount of postoperative recorded blood loss, and the need for transfusion of packed red blood cells (RBCs) and other blood products.
A total of 1160 patients in nine RCTs (576 in the levosimendan group and 584 in the control group) were included according to our inclusion criteria. Analysis showed that perioperative levosimendan administration neither increased the rate of reoperation secondary to bleeding nor increased the amount of postoperative chest tube drainage when compared with the control group. In terms of blood product transfusion, levosimendan did not influence the requirement for RBC transfusion, platelet transfusion nor fresh frozen plasma (FFP) transfusion. Levosimendan also did not shorten or prolong the aortic cross-clamp time or the cardiopulmonary bypass time.
The analyzed parameters, including reoperations due to bleeding, postoperative chest drainage and the requirement for blood products, revealed that levosimendan did not increase postoperative bleeding risk. More studies with a larger sample size are needed to address a more reliable conclusion due to study limitations.