Objective: To investigate the efficacy and safety of recombinant activated factor VII (rFVIIa) treatment in patients undergoing major surgical procedures.
Data sources: Relevant studies were searched in BioMedCentral, CENTRAL, PubMed, and PubMed Central.
Study selection: Only randomized controlled trials on humans undergoing major surgery were included. Efficacy was determined as the rate of patients receiving allogeneic packed red blood cells; safety was assessed in terms of thromboembolic complications and mortality rate.
Data extraction: We followed the Cochrane Collaboration method for data extraction and internal validity procedures, as well as the Quality of Reporting of Meta-analyses statement.
Data synthesis: Seven randomized controlled trials met the inclusion criteria. Treatment with rFVIIa is associated with a reduced risk of receiving allogeneic packed red blood cells (odds ratio, 0.29; 95% confidence interval, 0.10-0.80). In a subgroup analysis, only patients receiving at least 50 mug/kg of rFVIIa had a significant benefit (odds ratio, 0.43; 95% confidence interval, 0.23-0.78). No differences in thromboembolic complications and mortality rates were observed.
Conclusions: Treatment with rFVIIa is effective in reducing the rate of patients undergoing transfusion with allogeneic packed red blood cells. However, the cost-benefit ratio is favorable only in patients who need a huge number of packed red blood cell units. No safety concerns arise from the present study.