Point-of-Care Testing in Liver Disease and Liver Surgery

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The alterations in coagulation and hemostasis that accompany liver disease are complex, and while patients with this disease have traditionally been perceived as having a bleeding diathesis, it is now understood that in stable patients hemostasis is “re-balanced.” Hepatic surgery, and particularly liver transplantation, can be associated with large fluid shifts, massive bleeding, and coagulopathy, as well as postoperative thrombosis. Point-of-care tests (POCTs) of coagulation facilitate goal-directed treatments and hemostatic monitoring in dynamic environments where the coagulation status can alter rapidly and often unpredictably. POCTs reflect more accurately the re-balanced hemostatic system than do conventional coagulation tests (CCTs). Viscoelastic POCT-guided transfusion algorithms permit a reduction in blood product administration and are a key component of patient blood management programs. Moreover, viscoelastic POCTs are better able to identify patients with hypercoagulability than CCTs. With thrombosis increasingly recognized to be a problem in patients with liver disease, POCTs hold promise for both individualized bleeding and thrombosis management.

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