International Perfusion Association


Hemolysis Precedes Urine Color Change in Patients Undergoing Open-Heart Surgery on Cardiopulmonary Bypass

Purpose: Red-colored urine often occurs in patients in the perioperative period who undergo cardiac surgery using cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). This urine color change has been utilized for approximating hemolysis during CPB without a proven relationship for ongoing hemolysis. This case series study aimed to examine the relationship between plasma free hemoglobin (Hb) levels and quantified measures of urine color.

Methods: Ten patients were enrolled in this study. Blood and urine were collected for analyses for the following time points: before surgery, two hours after the initiation of CPB, every 30 min during CPB thereafter, and 0, 2, 4, 12, and 24 hours after the completion of CPB. We measured free Hb in plasma and urine using the azide-methemoglobin method. Photographs of urine were obtained, and the luminance of the three basic colors (red/green/blue) was analyzed by quantitative luminance contrast analysis to find a correlation for hemolysis.

Results: Median levels of plasma free Hb were 0.015 (0.010-0.080, n = 10) g/dL at baseline. During the CPB, increases in plasma free Hb levels were measured: median plasma free Hb levels were increased to 0.100 g/dL (0.020-0.240, p = 0.039, vs. baseline, n = 9) at two hours into CPB, median and range, respectively. In contrast, increases in urinary free Hb levels and/or urine color changes were measured only after cessation of CPB in nine patients.

Conclusion: Urine color change or elevation of urinary free Hb levels followed the elevation of plasma free Hb levels with considerable delay.

Keywords: acute kidney injury; cardiac surgery; cardiopulmonary bypass; hematuria; hemolysis; luminance contrast analysis; urine color change.

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