In the acute care setting, both the tracings and numeric outputs (R time, angle, and MA) of thrombelastography (TEG) may be used to inform treatment decisions. The objective was to determine the sensitivity of TEG to isolated changes in platelet count, hematocrit and fibrinogen concentration in human blood. As pigs have a similar coagulation system, we also compared the responses of the pig blood. Eight volunteers (>18years of age, no anticoagulation or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory therapy, not pregnant) were enrolled into this study. Four female anesthetized donor pigs were instrumented percutaneously with a catheter for blood collection. All blood was collected into sodium citrate. The concentration of each component (platelets, fibrinogen, and red blood cells) was changed while keeping the other components constant by use of centrifugation or preparation of each individual's plasma into platelet poor plasma, platelet rich plasma, cryoprecipitate, purified washed platelets, and packed red blood cells as appropriate. TEG (Haemoscope) analysis was performed and compared with the patients' whole blood diluted with lactated Ringer's solution. We demonstrated that the major factor affecting the MA and angle was the platelet count. In fact, reducing platelets alone resulted in TEG profiles and parameters that were similar to lactated Ringer's dilution profiles. Swine blood responses were parallel to that of human blood, although there were offsets especially of TEG-R and angle that confirmed that the swine are hypercoagulable compared with humans. Superficially similar TEG tracing patterns can be produced by divergent mechanisms associated with altered concentrations of blood components.
- blood platelets