Coagulation monitoring during extracorporeal membrane oxygenation: the role of thrombelastography

J Extra Corpor Technol. 1995 Sep;27(3):137-45.


Patients undergoing extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) are at an increased risk for developing coagulopathies due to the adverse effects of extracorporeal circulation on the hemostatic mechanism. Methods of determining causative factors of bleeding diathesis are often inconsistent and non-specific. ECMO patients require aggressive transfusion therapy with autogenic blood products to stabilize and maintain hemostasis. The present study evaluated the coagulation status of newborn patients undergoing ECMO therapy, using a viscoelastic monitor (Thrombelastograph -TEG) that measures functional aspects of clot development and stabilization. Seventeen neonatal patients undergoing ECMO for severe respiratory dysfunction were entered into this study. Serial blood samples were obtained and routine coagulation assessment including fibrinogen concentration, platelet count and ionized calcium was performed. In addition, fibrin(ogen) degradation products (FDP), d-Dimers, antithrombin III and plasma free hemoglobin were measured. Transfusion indicators were established and total transfusion requirements recorded. TEG profiles were determined with the use of heparinase, an enzyme that degrades heparin but has little effect on other coagulation factors. The most commonly encountered complication was hemorrhaging which was diagnosed by laboratory and clinical assessment in 11 of 17 patients. Transfusion requirements (measured in ml/kg/ECMO hour) were the following: packed red blood cells--1.34 +/- 0.5; platelets--0.71 +/- 0.57; fresh frozen plasma--0.09 +/- 0.12; cryoprecipitate 0.05 +/- 0.05. Thrombelastograph profiles reflected hemostatic conditions that ranged from severe coagulopathies (DIC) to hypercoagulability. Interpretation of TEG profiles identified hemostatic abnormalities in 57 of 101 profiles (46.5%), with the most common etiology related to platelet dysfunction.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / blood*
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / etiology
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / therapy
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods
  • Thrombelastography / instrumentation
  • Thrombelastography / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome