Object. The aim of this study was to determine the safety and efficacy of prophylactic high-dose intravenous aprotinin in reducing intraoperative blood loss in the neurosurgical population.
Methods. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in parallel groups in two regional neurosurgical departments. One hundred patients with a preoperative diagnosis of intracranial meningioma or vestibular schwannoma subsequently confirmed on histological studies were included. All patients were older than 18 years of age, pregnancy had been excluded, there was no history of bleeding diathesis, no previous exposure to aprotinin, and no ingestion of antiplatelet or anticoagulant medications within the 2 weeks preceding surgery. Aprotinin was administered in doses of 30,000 kallikrein-inhibiting units (KIU)/kg body weight on induction of anesthesia and was continued as an infusion of 10,000 KIU/kg/hr until surgery was complete, or for a maximum of 8 hours. Intraoperative blood loss, blood transfusion, the Glasgow Outcome Scale score, and the Index of Independence were measured, and screening for deep vein thrombosis and the Mini-Mental State Examination were performed.
Conclusions. Intraoperative blood loss was reduced from 1014 ml (geometric mean) to 508 ml (p = 0.028). Although this study was not designed to evaluate the need for blood transfusion, 37 U of blood was used in 11 patients in the aprotinin group and 58 U in 13 patients in the placebo group (not significant). There were no significant differences in postoperative thrombotic risk or other outcome measures between treatment groups. Aprotinin therefore can be safely used to reduce intraoperative blood loss in patients who are not receiving anticoagulation therapy.