• Blood transfusion;
  • Fresh frozen plasma;
  • Randomised controlled trials


Fresh frozen plasma is commonly used in cardiac surgery in an attempt to replace clotting factors and to decrease bleeding. Despite this, there has been no previous review of the available literature to support this practice. The aim of this review was to study the effect of prophylactic peri-operative transfusion of fresh frozen plasma on bleeding and coagulopathy in patients undergoing cardiac surgery. A comprehensive literature search was performed and all randomised controlled trials of the use of fresh frozen plasma in cardiac surgery were included. Six small trials were found that included a total of 363 participants with six different dose regimens of fresh frozen plasma. The overall quality of the studies was poor due to small patient numbers and lack of allocation concealment. There was no evidence that the prophylactic use of fresh frozen plasma affected peri-operative blood loss in cardiac surgery. There was some evidence that it may improve platelet count and fibrinogen concentration.