This systematic review aims to outline the evidence on the implementation of a non-point-of-care (non-point-of-care [POC]) haemostasis management protocol compared to experience-based practice in adult cardiac surgery.Background
Management of coagulopathy in cardiac surgery is complex and remains highly variable among centres and physicians. Although various guidelines recommend the implementation of a transfusion protocol, the literature on this topic has never been systematically reviewed.Methods
PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science were searched from January 2000 till May 2020.Results
A total of seven studies (one randomised controlled trial [RCT], one prospective cohort study, and five retrospective studies) met the inclusion criteria. Among the six non-randomised, controlled studies, the risk of bias was determined to be serious to critical, and the one RCT was determined to have a high risk of bias. Five studies showed a significant reduction in red blood cells, fresh frozen plasma, and/or platelet transfusion after the implementation of a structural non-POC algorithm, ranging from 2% to 28%, 2% to 19.5%, and 7% to17%, respectively. One study found that fewer patients required transfusion of any blood component in the protocol group. Another study had reported a significantly increased transfusion rate of platelet concentrate in the haemostasis algorithm group.Conclusion
Owing to the high heterogeneity and a substantial risk of bias of the included studies, no conclusion can be drawn on the additive value of the implementation of a cardiac-surgery-specific non-POC transfusion and haemostasis management algorithm compared to experience-based practice. To define the exact impact of a transfusion protocol on blood product transfusion, bleeding, and adverse events, well-designed prospective clinical trials are required.