Major bleeding complications after cardiopulmonary resuscitation: impact of thrombolytic treatment



Abstract.  Kurkciyan I, Meron G, Sterz F, Müllner M, Tobler K, Domanovits H, Schreiber W, Bankl HC, Laggner AN (General Hospital of Vienna, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria). Major bleeding complications after cardiopulmonary resuscitation: impact of thrombolytic treatment. J Intern Med 2003; 253: 128–135.

Objective.  The risk of bleeding complications caused by thrombolysis in patients with cardiac arrest and prolonged cardiopulmonary resuscitation is unclear. We evaluate the complication rate of systemic thrombolysis in patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest caused by acute myocardial infarction, especially in relation to duration of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Design.  The study was designed as retrospective cohort study, the risk factor being systemic thrombolysis and the end-point major haemorrhage, defined as life-threatening and/or need for transfusion. Over 10.5 years, emergency cardiac care data, therapy, major haemorrhage and outcome of 265 patients with acute myocardial infarction admitted to an emergency department after successful cardiopulmonary resuscitation were registered.

Results.  We observed major haemorrhage in 13 of 132 patients who received thrombolysis (10%, 95% confidence interval 5–15%), five of these survived to discharge, none died because of this complication. Major haemorrhage occurred in seven of 133 patients in whom no thrombolytic treatment had been given (5%, 95% confidence interval 1–9%), two of these survived to discharge. Taking into account baseline imbalances between the groups, the risk of bleeding was slightly increased if thrombolytics were used (odds ratio 2.5, 95% confidence interval 0.9–7.4) but this was not significant (P = 0.09). There was no clear association between duration of resuscitation and bleeding complications (z for trend = 1.52, P = 0.12). Survival was not significantly better in patients receiving thrombolysis (odds ratio 1.6, 0.9–3.0, P = 0.12).

Conclusions.  Bleeding complications after cardiopulmonary resuscitation are frequent, particularly in patients with thrombolytic treatment, but do not appear to be related to the duration of resuscitation. In the light of possible benefits on outcome, thrombolytic treatment should not be withheld in carefully selected patients.