European Medicines Agency Updates Advice for Spraying Fibrin Sealants During Surgery

The European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has issued new instructions to promote safe use of the fibrin sealants Tisseel, Tissucol, Artiss, and Beriplast P during surgery. This advice follows that issued for two other fibrin sealants, Evicel and Quixil, in November 2012. Employed to help reduce local bleeding, these sealants are typically dripped or sprayed onto bleeding tissue to form a fibrin clot.

Reports of gas embolism with Evicel and Quixil in association with the use of spray devices that use a pressure regulator prompted a review of fibrin sealants. These events appear to be related to the use of the spray device at higher-than-recommended pressures and/or in closer-than-recommended proximity to the tissue surface, EMA stated in a press release.

Although EMA reports that risk of gas embolism with Tisseel, Tissucol, and Artiss when applied as spray during surgery was considered to be very low, the Committee concluded that the risk cannot be excluded. It urges that product information for these medicines be updated with new instructions to optimise their safe use. EMA stated the following: 

  • The product information should be updated with clear and consistent advice for healthcare professionals regarding recommended pressure and distance to use during spraying application.
  • The marketing-authorisation holders for these medicines should ensure that they are used with pressure regulators that do not exceed the maximum pressure required to deliver the fibrin sealant, and that they contain labels stating the recommended pressure and distance.
  • The product information should include a warning that the risk of gas embolism appears to be higher when fibrin sealants are sprayed using air, as compared to CO2, and patients should be closely monitored for signs of gas embolism.
  • Healthcare professionals in the European Union (EU) will receive a letter outlining the updated information on the safe use of these medicines.

For the fibrin sealant Beriplast P (and associated names), however, the CHMP concluded that "there is no risk associated with this product because it does not require a gas-assisted spray device during application, therefore there is no risk of gas embolism with this product when used in accordance with prescribing advice and with the recommended device."

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