The effects of different anesthetic regimens on fibrinolysis and the development of postoperative arterial thrombosis

B. A. Rosenfeld, C. Beattie, R. Christopherson, Edward John Norris, S. M. Frank, M. J. Breslow, P. Rock, S. D. Parker, S. O. Gottlieb, B. A. Perler, George M Williams, A. Seidler, W. Bell, Curtis L Meinert, H. Yates, D. Taylor, B. Brasfield, D. L. Bourke, P. Bezirdjian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

237 Scopus citations


Background: The purpose of this clinical trial was to compare the effects of different anesthetic and analgesic regimens on hemostatic function and postoperative arterial thrombotic complications. Methods: Ninety-five patients scheduled for elective lower extremity vascular reconstruction were randomized to receive either epidural anesthesia followed by epidural fentanyl (RA) or general anesthesia followed by intravenous morphine (GA). Intraoperative and postoperative care were controlled by protocol using predetermined limits for heart rate, blood pressure, and other monitoring criteria. Data collection included serial physical examinations, electrocardiograms, and cardiac isoenzymes to detect arterial thrombosis (defined as unstable angina, myocardial infarction, or vascular graft occlusion requiring reoperation). Fibrinogen, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), and D-dimer levels were measured preoperatively and at 24 and 72 h postoperatively. Results: Preoperative fibrinogen levels were similar in both groups, remained unchanged after 24 h, and increased equally (45%) in the first 72 h postoperatively. PAI-1 levels in the GA group increased from 13.6 ± 2.1 activity units (AU)/ml to 20.2 ± 2.6 AU/ml at 24 h and returned to baseline at 72 h. In contrast, PAI-1 levels in the RA group remained unchanged over time. Twenty-two of 95 patients (23%) had postoperative arterial thrombosis, 17 of whom had received GA and 5 of whom, RA. Preoperative PAI-1 levels were higher in patients who developed postoperative arterial thrombosis (20.5 ± 3.6 AU/ml vs. 11.2 ± 1.4 AU/ml). Multiple logistic regression analysis indicated that GA and preoperative PAI- 1 levels were predictive of postoperative arterial thrombotic complications. Conclusions: Impaired fibrinolysis may be related causally to postoperative arterial thrombosis. Because RA combined with epidural fentanyl analgesia appears to prevent postoperative inhibition of fibrinolysis, this form of perioperative management may decrease the risk of arterial thrombotic complications in patients undergoing lower extremity revascularization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-443
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1993


  • Coagulation: D-dimer; fibrinogen; fibrinolysis thrombosis; plasminogen activator inhibitor-1
  • Heart: myocardial infarction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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