Coagulopathy in Children With Liver Disease

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It was thought that a high international normalized ratio predicted bleeding in patients with chronic liver disease (CLD) and patients were “autoanticoagulated.” Contrary to this belief, while patients with CLD experienced bleeding, they also developed thromboses. In the last decade, the prevailing literature challenged the idea that an elevated international normalized ratio increased bleeding risk. The global assays of coagulation such as thromboelastography (TEG)/rotational thromboelastometry and thrombin generation assays provide additional insight into coagulation processes. It has become apparent that a parallel reduction of procoagulant and anticoagulant factors leave patients in a new “balanced” state, albeit a fragile one, where the balance can be easily disrupted. The inherent differences in coagulation between children and adults such as differences in levels of procoagulant and anticoagulant factors, underlying liver disease, and the paucity of studies in children make extrapolation of these findings to the pediatric population problematic. Ultimately, this is an area that requires further investigation to avoid inappropriate use of blood products and medication.

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