Background: During 2007 and 2008 it is likely that millions of patients in the US received heparin contaminated (CH) with oversulfated chondroitin sulfate, which was associated with anaphylactoid reactions. We tested the hypothesis that CH was associated with serious morbidity, mortality, intensive care unit (ICU) stay and heparin-induced thrombocytopenia following adult cardiac surgery. Methods and Findings: We conducted a single center, retrospective, propensity-matched cohort study during the period of CH and the equivalent time frame in the three preceding or the two following years. Perioperative data were obtained from the institutional record of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Database, for which the data collection is prospective, standardized and performed by independent investigators. After matching, logistic regression was performed to evaluate the independent effect of CH on the composite adverse outcome (myocardial infarction, stroke, pneumonia, dialysis, cardiac arrest) and on mortality. Cox regression was used to determine the association between CH and ICU length of stay. The 1:5 matched groups included 220 patients potentially exposed to CH and 918 controls. There were more adverse outcomes in the exposed cohort (20.9% versus 12.0%; difference = 8.9%; 95% CI 3.6% to 15.1%, P<0.001) with an odds ratio for CH of 2.0 (95% CI, 1.4 to 3.0, P<0.001). In the exposed group there was a non-significant increase in mortality (5.9% versus 3.5%, difference = 2.4%; 95% CI, -0.4 to 3.5%, P = 0.1), the median ICU stay was longer by 14.1 hours (interquartile range -26.6 to 79.8, S = 3299, P = 0.0004) with an estimated hazard ratio for CH of 1.2 (95% CI, 1.0 to 1.4, P = 0.04). There was no difference in nadir platelet counts between cohorts. Conclusions: The results from this single center study suggest the possibility that contaminated heparin might have contributed to serious morbidity following cardiac surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere106096
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 27 2014


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