60 Minutes – Trasylol Exposed For Deadly Side Effects (Video)

One of my favorite television shows is 60 Minutes on CBS. I love the stories. I love the reporters. And, I love the way they tackle subjects that really make you think. (I even find Andy Rooney pretty darn funny.)

Yesterday, however, I was watching a very troubling 60 Minutes story about Trasylol. As you may know, Trasylol is a drug used during cardiac bypass surgery (including heart valve repair and heart valve replacement) to prevent blood clotting. The drug is manufactured by Bayer and its generic name is Aprotinin.

In February, 2006 a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found patients on Trasylol during cardiac bypass surgery were at greater risk of dying over the next five years than those given two other medications. The same researchers also linked Trasylol to an increased risk of kidney failure, during the 60 Minutes clip.

As you would imagine, I continued to watch this 60 Minutes Trasylol piece with acute attention considering my aortic valve replacement surgery was in 2005.

“Our present findings deal with death,” one of the JAMA study’s authors, Dr. Dennis T. Mangano, stated. Mangano, director of the Ischemia Research and Education Foundation, a California-based nonprofit group, said that “the death rate for aprotinin patients far outstrips that for the other two drugs.”

His team’s study tracked the long-term survival of almost 3,900 heart patients who underwent coronary artery bypass surgery at 62 medical centers worldwide and found that the five-year death rate for patients given Trasylol was 20.8 percent, compared to 15.8 percent for those given another drug, aminocaproic acid, and 14.7 percent for those given tranexamic acid.

In total, researchers estimate the use of Trasylol resulted in the death of 22,000 patients during the fourteen years it was on the market.

The really gripping part of the story dealt with Bayer’s negligence and failure to publicly produce their own data (with the FDA) that supported Dr. Mangano’s research. In essence, Bayer continued to keep Trasylol on the market even though Bayer may have known the medication had an overwhelmingly negative side effect… Death.

That said, I found a portion of the 60 Minutes Trasylol story on the Internet. The story is called “One Thousand Lives A Month”.

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

  • Leslie

    Golly Adam,

    I saw this on 60 Minutes also…

    it’s darned scary and makes you wonder what other drugs are out there and how devious drug companies can be.

    Since my surgery was January 2008, I am hoping trasylol was NOT used and I am afraid to ask my surgical team!!! I am surprised that mortality rates are so high in 5 years, period.

    Even the low rates at nearly 15%. Why is that, do you think? Do you think it is age related?


  • Bette

    I do believe that my Father was given this drug 5 years ago because it is marked on the top of his Anesethia Report Trasyol Regimen A. Although, I can not find it on the bill. I am in the process of that now. My father went into immediate kidney failure. He got out of ICU and lasted 33 days.
    Since this was back in 2005, I don’t think that I have a prayer of getting compensated because it is past the statute. But, I just found this 60 minute video, so I don’t know.


  • Tom

    I too had problems (kidney failure and two strokes following a ross proceedure that I had in Dec 2002 wqhen I was 31 y/o, as a result I still have a paralyzed left arm and a weak left leg,anyhow thanks for the site, would love to talk to you sometime

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