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Coagulation abnormalities in the cirrhotic patient

Jimena Muciño-Bermejo, Raúl Carrillo-Esper, Misael Uribe, Nahum Méndez-Sánchez

Abstract

The clotting process is a dynamic array of multiple processes which can be described in four phases: platelet plug initiation and formation, clotting process propagation by the coagulation cascade, clotting termination by antithrombotic mechanisms and clot removal by fibrinolysis. The liver plays a central role in each of these phases of clotting process, as it synthesizes the majority of coagulation factors and proteins involved in fibrinolysis as well as thrombopoeitin, which is responsible for platelet production from megakaryocytes. Many pathological processes associated with cirrhosis, such as portal hypertension and endothelial dysfunction, as well as co-morbid conditions, may also alter the coagulation process. Consequently, patients with liver disease have a disturbed balance of procoagulant and anti-coagulant factors which deviates from the normal coagulation cascade. This situation poses an additional problem in the diagnostic and therapeutic approach to this group of patients, since traditional coagulation test may not be reliable for assessing bleeding or thrombotic risk and traditional transfusional strategies may not be applicable in cirrhotic patients. In this article, we review the pathophysiological bases of coagulation abnormalities, in cirrhotic patients, the diagnostic therapeutic strategies to be followed and its impact on the clinical outcome in the cirrhotic patient.

Key words. Coagulopathy, Bleeding risk, Thrombotic risk, Liver disease

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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