Management of Intraoperative Fluid Balance and Blood Conservation Techniques in Adult Cardiac Surgery


  • George Vretzakis
  • Athina Kleitsaki
  • Diamanto Aretha
  • Menelaos Karanikolas



Blood transfusions are associated with adverse physiologic effects and increased cost, and therefore reduction of blood product use during surgery is a desirable goal for all patients. Cardiac surgery is a major consumer of donor blood products, especially when cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) is used, because hematocrit drops precipitously during CPB due to blood loss and blood cell dilution. Advanced age, low preoperative red blood cell volume (preoperative anemia or small body size), preoperative antiplatelet or antithrombotic drugs, complex or re-operative procedures or emergency operations, and patient comorbidities were identified as important transfusion risk indicators in a report recently published by the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists. This report also identified several pre- and intraoperative interventions that may help reduce blood transfusions, including off-pump procedures, preoperative autologous blood donation, normovolemic hemodilution, and routine cell saver use.

A multimodal approach to blood conservation, with highrisk patients receiving all available interventions, may help preserve vital organ perfusion and reduce blood product utilization. In addition, because positive intravenous fluid balance is a significant factor affecting hemodilution during cardiac surgery, especially when CPB is used, strategies aimed at limiting intraoperative fluid balance positiveness may also lead to reduced blood product utilization.

This review discusses currently available techniques that can be used intraoperatively in an attempt to avoid or minimize fluid balance positiveness, to preserve the patient's own red blood cells, and to decrease blood product utilization during cardiac surgery.


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How to Cite

Vretzakis, G., Kleitsaki, A., Aretha, D., & Karanikolas, M. (2011). Management of Intraoperative Fluid Balance and Blood Conservation Techniques in Adult Cardiac Surgery. The Heart Surgery Forum, 14(1), E28-E39.