Purpose of review
Major bleeding in cardiac surgery is commonly encountered, and, until recently, most frequently managed with fresh frozen plasma (FFP). However, a Cochrane review found this practice to be associated with a significant increase in red blood cell (RBC) transfusions and costs. These findings have led to off-label uses of prothrombin complex concentrates (PCCs) in cardiac surgery. The purpose of this review is to compare and contrast the use of FFP and PCC, review the components, limitations and risks of different types of PCCs, and discuss the latest evidence for the use of PCC versus FFP in cardiac surgery.
A recent review and meta-analysis suggests that PCC administration in cardiac surgery is more effective than FFP in reducing RBC transfusions and costs.
The current data supports the use of 4F-PCC instead of FFP as the primary hemostatic agent in cases of major bleeding in cardiac surgery. The use of PCCs is associated with reduced rates of RBC transfusions while maintaining a favorable safety profile. Clear advantages of PCC over FFP include its smaller volume, higher concentration of coagulation factors and shorter acquisition and administration times.