Does whole blood coagulation analysis reflect developmental haemostasis?
Developmental haemostasis has been well documented over the last 3 decades and age-dependent reference ranges have been reported for a number of plasmatic coagulation parameters. With the increasing use of whole blood point-of-care tests like rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM) and platelet function tests, an evaluation of age-dependent changes is warranted for these tests as well. We obtained blood samples from 149 children, aged 1 day to 5.9 years, and analysed conventional plasmatic coagulation tests, including activated partial prothrombin time, prothrombin time, and fibrinogen (functional). Whole blood samples were analysed using ROTEM to assess overall coagulation capacity and Multiplate analyzer to evaluate platelet aggregation. Age-dependent changes were analysed for all variables. We found age-dependent differences in all conventional coagulation tests (all P values < 0.05), but there was no sign of developmental changes in whole blood coagulation assessment when applying ROTEM, apart from clotting time in the EXTEM assay (P < 0.03). Despite marked differences in mean platelet aggregation between age groups, data did not reach statistical significance. Citrate-anticoagulated blood showed significantly reduced platelet aggregation compared with blood anticoagulated with heparin or hirudin (all P values < 0.003). We confirmed previous developmental changes in conventional plasmatic coagulation test. However, these age-dependent changes were not displayed in whole blood monitoring using ROTEM or Multiplate analyzer. Type of anticoagulant had a significant influence on platelet aggregation across all age groups.