Correction of platelet dysfunction and bleeding in cyanotic congenital heart disease by simple red cell volume reduction

Harold M. Maurer, Carolyn M. McCue, Louise W. Robertson, Joyce C. Haggins

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Red cell volume reduction corrected the platelet aggregation abnormality and bleeding tendency in four boys, aged 5 to 16 years, with severe cyanotic congenital heart disease and polycythemia. Red cell volume was reduced by replacing 15 to 20 ml/kg body weight of the patient's blood with plasma in 50 ml increments over a 1 to 2 hour period. Within 3 days, platelet aggregation was restored essentially to normal, and previous bleeding symptoms disappeared. Platelet aggregation remained normal during 3 weeks of follow-up study and hematocrit values remained at palliative levels. The procedure was safe and simple, and it had beneficial effects not only on bleeding but also on other symptoms related to polycythemia. These preliminary observations suggest that red cell volume reduction may be useful preoperatively in patients with cyanotic heart disease and defects in platelet function to lessen the risk of serious bleeding during the early postoperative period. Palliation in severely cyanotic children whose condition is inoperable is another possible indication for this procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-835
Number of pages5
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1975


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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