Haemostatic balance in cirrhosis

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Despite the prolongation of coagulation tests, recent studies reported an increased frequency of thromboembolic events in patients with cirrhosis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the haemostatic balance in cirrhotic patients through assessing the variation of pro- and anticoagulant factors and evaluating the in-vitro thrombin generation in patients with cirrhosis and in healthy patients. Fifty-one cirrhotic patients with or without thromboembolic events and 50 controls matched by age and sex were enrolled. Procoagulant (factors VII, II, V, VIII, and XII) and inhibitor (protein C, protein S and antithrombin) factor activities were determined. Thrombin generation was measured as endogenous thrombin potential (ETP). Haemostatic balance was assessed by means of both procoagulant to inhibitor coagulation factor ratios and ETP with to without protein C activation ratios. There were 24 males and 27 females. The mean age was 57.8 years [16–91 years]. Pro and anticoagulant factors were significantly lower in patients than in controls (P < 0.001) except for factor VIII and protein S. In fact factor VIII level was significantly higher in patients than in controls and protein S levels were not significantly different between patients and controls. Almost all the pro to anticoagulant factor ratios were higher in cirrhotics than in controls, especially the factor VIII to protein C ratios which increased significantly from Child Pugh A to C (P < 0.001), the ratio of ETP with to without protein C activator was higher in patients than in controls, but did not reach a significant level (0.8 vs. 0.52) There was no statistically significant difference between Child classes. When comparing patients with history of thrombosis (n = 7) to those matched by age and sex and without history of thrombosis (n = 14), the ratios were not statistically different between the two groups. Haemostatic changes in cirrhosis tend to rebalance the haemostatic system. This state often results in a hypercoagulable state attested by increased pro- to anticoagulant factor ratios and a normal thrombin generation.

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