In-vitro assessment of the effect of dabigatran on thrombosis of adult and neonatal plasma: comparisons using thromboelastography and microscopic visualization of fibrin clot structure
Thromboelastography (TEG) is a global assay used for evaluating features of clot formation in vitro. Dabigatran is a reversible direct inhibitor of thrombin that has not been studied in neonates using a sophisticated global assay, such as TEG. Neonatal hemostasis differs from adult hemostasis in both quantitative and qualitative characteristics. Our aim was to compare the TEG clotting profile of neonatal and adult platelet-poor plasma when exposed to different concentrations of dabigatran. We used commercially collected adult pooled plasma and neonatal cord blood collected from placentas of healthy full term newborns. Platelet-poor plasma was isolated, pooled, and frozen. Prior to experiment, plasma was thawed and filtered. A reaction mixture of CaCl2, corn trypsin inhibitor, tissue factor, and dabigatran in imidazole buffer was mixed with plasma in a TEG cup. Time to clot initiation (R-time), speed of clot strengthening (α-angle), and maximum clot strength (maximal amplitude) were measured. Scanning electron microscopy was performed to evaluate fibrin clot structure. Without dabigatran, there was no significant difference in TEG measurements between neonatal and adult samples. However, neonatal plasma clotting with dabigatran had slower onset, slower speed, and weaker clots that were more porous with thicker fibers, compared with adult plasma clotting. Thus, neonatal plasma may be more sensitive to dabigatran as assessed by our in-vitro TEG study.