Bleeding is a common and potentially serious complication of acute and chronic renal failure. The pathogenesis of bleeding in uremia is multifactorial; however, the major role is played by abnormalities in platelet-platelet and platelet-vessel wall interaction. Platelet dysfunction is partially due to uremic toxins present in circulating blood. Despite decreased platelet function, abnormalities of blood coagulation and fibrinolysis predispose the uremic patients to a hypercoagulable state carrying the risk of cardiovascular and thrombotic complications. Dialysis improves platelet abnormalities and reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of hemorrhage. Hemodialysis can even contribute to the bleeding through the continuous platelet activation induced by the interaction between blood and artificial surfaces and the use of anticoagulants. Correction of anemia improves hemostasis in uremic patients. Therapeutic management of bleeding in patients with uremia is discussed.
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