Recombinant activated factor VII for cerebral injury-induced coagulopathy in pediatric patients: Report of three cases and review of the literature

John David Morenski, Joseph D. Tobias, David F. Jimenez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Brain injury remains one of the leading causes of death and disability in children. Appropriate therapy involves aggressive management of intracranial pressure (ICP) and cerebral perfusion pressure, which often requires placement of an intraparenchymal ICP monitor or intraventricular catheter. These potentially life-saving interventions require normal coagulation function; however, several factors may lead to coagulopathy in the head-injured patient. Standard therapies, which often include multiple doses of fresh frozen plasma (FFP), have a number of drawbacks when used in the pediatric population. The use of FFP requires time to type and crossmatch, thaw, and administer. It imposes a significant volume load on a child in whom cerebral edema remains a problem. Success in using recombinant activated factor VII (rFVIIa) in the hemophiliac population suggests an alternative therapy. Three patients suffered severe coagulopathy after cerebral injury. One patient received rFVIIa after repeated doses of FFP had failed to correct the coagulopathy; the other two patients received rFVIIa as the initial therapy. Treatment with rFVIIa consisted of a bolus of 90 μg/kg. Recombinant activated factor VII rapidly corrected the patients' coagulopathies, which allowed placement of intraparenchymal fiberoptic lines and intraventricular catheters to monitor ICP. The patients suffered no complication from the placement of ICP monitoring devices, as demonstrated on computerized tomography scans obtained within 24 hours after placement. Brain injury-induced coagulopathy may lead to significant secondary injury and delays the invasive monitoring necessary for the aggressive management of intracranial hypertension. Fresh frozen plasma takes time to administer, may require repeated doses of significant volume for the pediatric patient, and may ultimately fail. Preliminary data indicated that rFVIIa provides a rapid and successful correction of coagulopathy in the head-injured patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-616
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003


  • Children
  • Coagulation disorder
  • Pediatric cerebral injury
  • Recombinant activated factor VII

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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