Hemostatic defects in liver and renal dysfunction.

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Multiple and complex abnormalities of hemostasis are revealed by laboratory tests in such common diseases as cirrhosis and end-stage renal insufficiency. Because these abnormalities are associated with a bleeding tendency, a causal relationship is plausible. Accordingly, an array of transfusional and nontransfusional medications that improve or correct these abnormalities is used to prevent or stop hemorrhage. However, recent data indicate that the use of hemostatic drugs is scarcely justified mechanistically or clinically. In patients with uremia, the bleeding tendency (mainly expressed by gastrointestinal bleeding and hematoma formation at kidney biopsy) is reduced dramatically by the improvement of anemia obtained with the regular use of erythropoietin. In cirrhosis, the most severe and frequent hemorrhagic symptom (acute bleeding from esophageal varices) is not explained by abnormalities in such coagulation screening tests as the prothrombin and partial thromboplastin times, because formation of thrombin the final coagulation enzyme is rebalanced by low naturally occurring anticoagulant factors in plasma that compensate for the concomitant decrease of procoagulants. Rebalance also occurs for hyperfibrinolysis and platelet abnormalities. These findings are consistent with clinical observations that transfusional and nontransfusional hemostatic medications are of little value as adjuvants to control bleeding in advanced liver disease. Particularly in uremia, but also in cirrhosis, thrombosis is becoming a cogent problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-173
Number of pages6
JournalHematology / the Education Program of the American Society of Hematology. American Society of Hematology. Education Program
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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