Massive postoperative bleeding after cardiac surgery: A last resort

J. Barak, D. Aravot, B. A. Vidne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Massive unexplained bleeding is a catastrophic complication of open heart surgery. The following paper describes a successful attempt to terminate such a hemorrhage by induction of controlled cardiac tamponade which caused augmentation of mediastinal pressure without hemodynamic decompensation, thereby aiding in hemostasis. This modality has not been reported previously. Few events in clinical medicine are so ominous as the major unexplained hemorrhage. Diffuse bleeding from multiple transected small vessels may be controlled by mechanical techniques which apply pressure directly over the bleeding area. However, where the mediastinum is the source of bleeding, application of such direct pressure with a closed chest, is both technically difficult and potentially risky. Reported attempts to stop bleeding by increasing the mediastinal pressure included the induction of pneumothorax, and the increase of Positive End Expiratory Pressure (PEEP). To the best of our knowledge, a deliberate induction of controlled cardiac tamponade in order to terminate prolonged unexplained massive postcardiotomy hemorrhage, has not been reported so far. This paper reports a successful attempt of this kind.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-72
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Bloodless Medicine and Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1985


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