A recent study published in the Journal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia presents promising results for the use of autologous platelet-rich plasma (aPRP) in patients undergoing total arch replacement surgery—commonly known as Sun’s procedure—for Stanford type A acute aortic dissection. The prospective, randomized trial conducted at a specialized tertiary university hospital focused on observing the effects aPRP would have on the need for allogeneic blood transfusion intraoperatively and its influence on short-term postoperative outcomes.

DOI: 10.1053/j.jvca.2019.02.033

Total arch replacement is a complex cardiac surgery that traditionally necessitates substantial allogeneic blood transfusions, posing risks for immunologic reactions and infectious disease transmission. Seeking ways to minimize these transfusions and enhance patient recovery, researchers, including lead authors Wen-Zhi Tian, Jian-Xu Er, and Liang Liu from the Department of Anesthesiology, and Qing-Liang Chen from the Department of Cardio-Vascular Surgery at Tianjin Chest Hospital, Tianjin Cardiovascular Diseases Institute, undertook this groundbreaking study.

The trial included 120 patients who were scheduled for the operation. These patients were divided into two groups: one where aPRP was collected right before incision and re-transfused after neutralization of heparin, and the other that followed standard transfusion protocols without the use of aPRP.

Key Findings

1. The aPRP treatment group had significantly reduced intraoperative transfusions of erythrocytes (red blood cells), plasma, and cryoprecipitate, which is in line with the findings of Han Jian-Ge and team as well as reflecting past supported research (p values: erythrocyte=0.009, plasma=0.017, cryoprecipitate=0.002).
2. The same group experienced significantly less blood loss (p=0.002).
3. The duration of postoperative mechanical ventilation and overall hospitalization in the treatment group was shorter (p values: mechanical ventilation=0.029, hospitalization=0.002).
4. No significant differences were found in the length of ICU stay, the frequency of complications, or the mortality rate 30 days post-surgery.

These results suggest that the use of aPRP can lead to a reduced reliance on blood products from donors and can aid in faster recovery periods post-surgery without impacting the safety or complication rates adversely.

Implications of Study

This trial sheds light on the potential benefits of aPRP in major cardiovascular surgeries. If these findings are replicated and expanded upon, there could be a significant shift towards autologous transfusion techniques in cardiothoracic surgery—an approach that could benefit patients and healthcare systems alike by reducing the risks associated with allogeneic transfusions, minimizing resource use, and potentially lowering healthcare costs.

Research References and Contributions

For further details on the study, the following references provide additional information and context:
1. Tian, W.-Z., Er, J.-X., Liu, L., Chen, Q.-L., Han, J.-G. (2019). Effects of Autologous Platelet Rich Plasma on Intraoperative Transfusion and Short-Term Outcomes in Total Arch Replacement (Sun’s Procedure): A Prospective, Randomized Trial. J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth, 33(8), 2163-2169. https://doi.org/10.1053/j.jvca.2019.02.033
2. Han, J.-G. et al. Original contribution to the study design and supervision, ensuring the scientific rigor and integrity of the work.
3. Er, J.-X. Collaborated on the clinical work, including patient selection, and facilitated the aPRP collection process.
4. Chen, Q.-L. Offered critical insights into the cardiovascular surgical aspects and helped shape the analysis related to surgical outcomes.
5. Liu, L. Assisted with the data collection and statistical analysis.


1. Platelet-Rich Plasma in Cardiac Surgery
2. Autologous Transfusion Techniques
3. Aortic Dissection Treatment
4. Total Arch Replacement Surgery
5. Blood Conservation Strategies

The potential of aPRP in cardiac and vascular surgery is only just beginning to be tapped into. As research progresses, patients undergoing procedures like the Sun’s could experience safer, more efficient surgeries with quicker recovery times. This study from Tianjin Chest Hospital is an important step towards optimizing surgical outcomes while maintaining patient safety.

Healthcare providers and patients should stay informed about new developments in transfusion medicine, such as the use of aPRP. It’s critical to adopt evidence-based practice changes that can enhance patient care and potentially reduce healthcare costs. The findings from this study pave the way for further research and possible shifts in standard surgical procedures, especially in the field of major cardiothoracic operations.


The innovative approach applying aPRP in the context of complex cardiovascular surgeries like Sun’s procedure demonstrates significant potential to improve intraoperative and postoperative outcomes. Although more research is needed to generalize these findings and understand long-term impacts fully, this study contributes valuable insights to the existing body of knowledge in transfusion and cardiovascular surgery practices.