With advancing age, an increasing number of healthy individuals have laboratory signs of heightened coagulation enzyme activity. Such biochemical hypercoagulability might be the basis of either the increased thrombotic tendency occurring with age or a harmless manifestation of this process. To see whether these alterations are also present in the very elderly who had aged successfully, 25 healthy centenarians were studied and results of coagulation and fibrinolysis measurements were compared with those obtained in two control groups of healthy adults, 25 ranging in age from 18 to 50 years and 25 from 51 to 69 years. Older controls had, in general, slightly higher values of several coagulation and fibrinolysis measurements than younger controls. Centenarians had striking signs of heightened coagulation enzyme activity, as assessed directly by measuring activated factor VII in plasma (P <.01, compared with either control group) or indirectly by measuring the plasma levels of the activation peptides of prothrombin, factor IX, factor X, and thrombin-antithrombin complexes (all P <.001). Heightened coagulation enzyme activity was accompanied by signs of enhanced formation of fibrin (high fibrinopeptide A, P <.001) and secondary hyperfibrinolysis (high D-dimer and plasmin-antiplasmin complex, P <.001). Plasma concentrations of fibrinogen and factor VIII were higher than in controls, whereas other coagulation factors were not elevated. In conclusion, this study shows the very elderly do not escape the state of hypercoagulability associated with aging, but that this phenomenon is compatible with health and longevity. Hence, high plasma levels of the coagulation activation markers in older populations do not necessarily mirror a high risk of arterial or venous thrombosis.
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - 1995|
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