Objective: To determine the coagulation abnormalities and relationship between abnormal clotting tests and the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding (GI) among chronic liver disease (CLD) patients admitted at a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan.
Methods: Adult CLD patients admitted at Liaquat University Hospital Jamshoro, during Nov 2004-Oct 2005, were included in the study. The patients blood were tested for coagulation abnormalities including prothrombin time (PT), activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), platelet count and plasma fibrinogen. Association was seen between the abnormal clotting tests and the gastrointestinal bleeding by calculating relative risk (RR) with 95% confidence interval.
Results: PT was prolonged in 88% and aPTT was raised in 71% cases of CLD. Both PT and aPTT were prolonged in 67% CLD cases. Approximately 37% CLD cases had decreased platelet count and 15% cases had decreased serum fibrinogen level. Relative risk of GI bleeding with abnormal clotting tests in CLD cases were weakly positive for PT (RR = 1.02; 95% CI, 0.49-2.10), negative for aPTT (RR = 0.83; 95% CI, 0.47-1.45), strongly positive for decreased platelet counts (RR = 1.96; 95% CI, 1.08-3.56) and also for decreased fibrinogen level (RR = 1.47; 95% CI, 0.64-3.35).
Conclusion: Coagulation abnormalities were profound in CLD. Decrease platelet counts and fibrinogen levels were related with GI bleeding but PT and aPTT were not significantly related with GI bleeding in patients with chronic liver disease. Nevertheless, these parameters (PT and aPTT) were still used as prognostic markers.