Thrombin generation assays: accruing clinical relevance

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Abstract

Purpose of review

After decades of near oblivion, thrombin generation is being revived as an overall function test of the plasmatic coagulation system in platelet-poor plasma (PPP). In platelet-rich plasma (PRP) it assesses platelet procoagulant functions as well.

Recent findings

The recently developed use of special fluorogenic thrombin substrates allows monitoring of thrombin concentration in clotting PPP and PRP on line in up to 24 parallel samples. Studies in model systems stress the importance of cell-bound thrombin generation such as measured in PRP.

Summary

The method can be profitably applied to various hitherto unyielding problems such as the control of (low-molecular-weight) heparin therapy, the detection of lupus anticoagulant, and various forms of thrombomodulin and activated protein C resistance (including the use of oral contraceptives) as well as monitoring the treatment of hemophiliacs by factor VIII bypassing therapy. In PRP it reflects the abnormalities encountered in von Willebrand disease and Glanzmann and Bernard-Soulier thrombopathy as well as the action of antiplatelet drugs.

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