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Pathophysiology of disordered coagulation 

Pathophysiology of disordered coagulation
Pathophysiology of disordered coagulation

Simon Stanworth

and Stuart McKechnie

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date: 16 May 2022

Imbalances in the regulation of haemostasis may manifest as bleeding (depletion of pro-coagulant factors) or thrombosis (deficiency of anti-coagulants). Disordered haemostasis is common in critically-ill patients and may result from infection, trauma, haemorrhage, inflammation, organ dysfunction (notably renal and liver dysfunction), or drug therapy. Complex patterns of coagulopathy where both bleeding and prothrombotic tendencies co-exist are well recognized in critical illness. The limitations of standard laboratory coagulation tests to predict bleeding risk, including activated partial thromboplastin time and prothrombin time, are well recognized. These assays were developed for diagnosis of inherited bleeding disorders or for monitoring of anticoagulant therapy. This has led to increased interest in global haemostatic tests, such as viscoelastic and thrombin generation tests. Thromboembolism is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in critically-ill patients. While inherited causes of bleeding appear to be often related to single gene abnormalities, thrombotic tendencies appear to reflect more complex interactions between inherited and acquired factors. Many interactions exist between coagulation pathways and inflammation. Systemic inflammation triggers widespread activation of coagulation, with pro-inflammatory cytokines activating pro-coagulant pathways and downregulating anticoagulant pathways. A net result of this interaction between inflammatory and coagulation pathways in sepsis is thrombin generation, intravascular fibrin deposition and a consumptive coagulopathy.

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