Background Hyperfibrinogenemia, which can create a procoagulant milieu, is frequently observed in patients supported with the Berlin EXCOR (Berlin Heart GmbH, Berlin, Germany) ventricular assist device (VAD). We began initiating corticosteroids in patients with systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) episodes to mitigate hyperfibrinogenemia. We set forth to describe the impact of corticosteroids on the hyperfibrinogenemic state in our institutional experience. Methods Retrospective data was collected on 44 consecutive patients implanted with the Berlin EXCOR VAD from April 15, 2005 through May 6, 2013. Pertinent information was abstracted from the electronic medical record. The reduction of C-reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen levels among days from corticosteroid treatment were described. Infections and insulin use were reported based on whether patients received steroids and if steroids were given for SIRS. Results Over the initial 44 Berlin EXCOR VAD implantations, 14 patients were treated with 21 courses of corticosteroids for SIRS episodes as identified by clinical features and rise in CRP. Treatment with corticosteroids reduced fibrinogen levels by day 2 to a statistically significant degree (p = 0.008). No difference in hyperglycemia or infections occurred among patients receiving corticosteroids for SIRS. Conclusions Treatment with corticosteroids can potentially mitigate the SIRS response among children supported on the Berlin EXCOR VAD. In patients who received corticosteroids to mitigate inflammation, there was no increase in infections or hyperglycemia requiring insulin administration compared with patients who did not receive steroids.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine