Blood cell adhesion to arterial filters analysis by scanning electron microscopy and real-time PCR assay: observational clinical study in cardiac surgery patients


Arterial filter is the part of the cardiopulmonary bypass circuit where blood cells are exposed to high mechanical stress and where cellular aggregates may fasten in large quantities. The aim of this study was to analyse blood cell adhesiveness in the arterial filter through scanning electron microscopy and real-time PCR assay.

Prospective, clinical and observational study performed on 28 patients undergoing cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. Arterial filters were analysed by scanning electron microscopy. Real-time PCR assay was performed in extracted material from the arterial filters for analysis of platelet GPIb and CD45 leucocyte gene expression. Blood coagulation was analysed during cardiopulmonary bypass. Patients were followed until hospital discharge or 28 days after surgery.

All studied arterial filters used in the subject patients showed a degree of adhesion from blood elements at scanning electron microscopy. All studied filters were positive for platelets GPIb gene expression and 15% had CD45 leucocyte gene expression. The GPIb platelet gene expression in blood lowered at the end of cardiopulmonary bypass (p = 0.019). There was negative correlation between blood GPIb platelet gene expression and Clot SR (HEPSCREEN2 ReoRox®) (rho = 0.635; p = 0.027). The filter fields count was correlated to the D-dimer dosage (rho = 0.828; p < 0.001).

There was adhesion of blood elements, especially nucleated platelets, on all arterial filters studied. Although the arterial filter worked as a safety device, that possibly prevented arterial embolisation, it may also have caused greater hyperfibrinolysis during cardiopulmonary bypass.

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