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A Journal on Anesthesiology, Resuscitation, Analgesia and Intensive Care
Minerva Anestesiologica 2010 February;76(2):131-7
Thrombelastography in the surgical patient
Bischof D., Dalbert S., Zollinger A., Ganter M. T., Hofer C. K. ✉
Institute of Anesthesiology, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland
Coagulopathy in surgical patients is an important factor in triggering major perioperative complications, i.e., intra- or postoperative bleeding and thrombo-embolic events associated with an increased mortality and morbidity. Different methods exist to assess the coagulation status of patients before, during and after surgery. Routine coagulation tests have long been considered to be the clinical standard. However, these tests have considerable limitations. Information regarding the kinetics of clot formation, clot strength, interaction of the coagulation components, platelet function and fibrinolysis is not available. Moreover, there is an important delay in obtaining test results. In contrast, thrombelastography and thrombelastometry, which both measure the visco-elastic properties of whole blood, allow the dynamic assessment of a developing clot, from fibrin formation to clot strengthening and clot lysis. Both techniques are increasingly being used in daily clinical practice in order to detect perioperative coagulopathy and to guide predominantly pro-coagulant therapy in different settings. This article provides an overview of both techniques, thrombelastography (TEG®) and thrombelastometry (ROTEM®), and their field of perioperative application considering of recently published data.