Background: Unregulated hemostasis represents a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the developed world. Being able to recognize and quantify defects of the hemostatic process is critical to reduce mortality and implement appropriate treatment.
Methods: We describe a novel ultrasound-based technology, named sonorheometry, which can assess hemostasis function from a small sample of blood. Sonorheometry uses the phenomenon of acoustic radiation force to measure the dynamic changes in blood viscoelasticity during clot formation and clot dissolution. We performed in vitro experiments using whole blood samples of 1 ml to demonstrate that sonorheometry is indicative of hemostatic functions that depend on plasma coagulation factors, platelets, and plasma fibrinolytic factors.
Results: Sonorheometry measurements show titration effects to compounds known to alter the coagulation factors (GPRP peptide, 0 to 8 mmol/l), platelets (abciximab, 0 to 12 microg/ml), and fibrinolytic factors (urokinase, 0 to 200 U). Repeated measurements of blood samples from the same subjects yielded reproducibility errors on the order of 5%.
Conclusions: These data indicate that sonorheometry accurately quantifies the functional role of the components of hemostasis in vitro.