Allingstrup M, Wetterslev J, Ravn FB, Møller AM, Afshari A.; Intensive Care Med. 2016 Feb 9. [Epub ahead of print]

PURPOSE: Antithrombin III (AT III) is an anticoagulant with anti-inflammatory properties. We assessed the benefits and harms of AT III in critically ill patients.

METHODS: We searched from inception to 27 August 2015 in CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CAB, BIOSIS and CINAHL. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) irrespective of publication status, date of publication, blinding status, outcomes published or language.

RESULTS: We included 30 RCTs with a total of 3933 participants. The majority of included trials were at high risk of bias. Combining all trials, regardless of bias, showed no statistically significant effect of AT III on mortality (RR 0.95, 95 % CI 0.88-1.03, I 2 = 0 %, fixed-effect model, 29 trials, 3882 participants). Among those with severe sepsis and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), AT III showed no impact on mortality (RR 0.95, 95 % Cl 0.88-1.03, I 2 = 0 %, fixed-effect model, 12 trials, 2858 participants). We carried out multiple subgroup and sensitivity analyses to assess the benefits and harms of AT III and to examine the impact of risk of bias. AT III significantly increased bleeding events (RR 1.58, 95 % CI 1.35-1.84, I 2 = 0 %, fixed-effect model, 11 trials, 3019 participants). However, for all other outcome measures and analyses, the results did not reach statistical significance.

CONCLUSIONS: There is insufficient evidence to support AT III substitution in any category of critically ill participants including those with sepsis and DIC. AT III did not show an impact on mortality, but increased the risk of bleeding.

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