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Danger From Heart Surgery Drug Confirmed
Date:5/14/2008

Data on increased death risk should permanently end use of Trasylol, experts say

WEDNESDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) -- A new Canadian study confirms that people given Trasylol, a drug used to reduce bleeding during heart surgery, increases their risk of death by 53 percent.

Trasylol's German maker, Bayer AG, suspended marketing in the United States last November after preliminary results from this trial revealed problems with the medication.

"In the trial, we asked whether apportioning [Trasylol] was more effective at reducing massive bleeding during high-risk heart surgery compared to other drugs," lead investigator Dr. Dean A. Fergusson, from the University of Ottawa Centre for Transfusion Research, said during a teleconference Monday.

"We also asked were serious complications, such as death and organ failure, lower for aprotinin compared to the two other drugs," Fergusson said.

The report was published in the May 13 online issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

In the Canadian trial, known as BART, Trasylol was compared with two similar drugs Cyklokapron (tranexamic acid) and Amicar (aminocaproic acid).

During the trial, 2,331 high-risk cardiac patients undergoing heart surgery were randomly assigned to one of the three drugs.

"The most important outcome of the trial was a bit of surprise," co-principal investigator Dr. Paul C. Hebert, a critical care physician at Ottawa Hospital, said during Monday's teleconference.

The rate of death from Trasylol was 6 percent versus 3.9 percent and 4 percent for the other two drugs, Hebert said. "This represents a 53 percent of relative risk of dying, which translates into for every 50 patients treated with apportioning, one patient would die," he said.

Most of the deaths associated with Trasylol were from cardiac complications, Hebert said. Because of the significant increased risk of death, the trial
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