Objective: To determine different haemostatic tests in patients with various degrees of liver parenchymal damage and to rule out their role in assessing parenchymal hepatocyte dysfunction.
Methods: Seventy-five patients with chronic liver disease were included and due to their degree of liver damage categorized into three groups: group one patients with chronic viral hepatitis and early stage of fibrosis (n=30), group two patients with compensated cirrhosis (n=17) and group three patients with decompensated liver cirrhosis (n=28). The following haemostatic tests were measured: activated partial thromboplastin time, prothrombin time, plasma fibrinogen, antithrombin III and protein C and plasma D-dimer.
Results: Antithrombin III levels showed significant reduction in compensated (83.86 +/- 19.49%) and decompensated cirrhosis (52.64 +/- 14.31%; p < 0.001), while protein C activity exhibited significant decrease in all the patients group, including patients with chronic viral hepatitis (90.58 +/- 11.03, 74.65 +/- 19.56, 41.11 +/- 18.35%; p < 0.001) in comparison with controls. Correlation between antithrombin III (Pearson ro = -.931, p < 0.01) and protein C (Pearson ro = -.789, p < 0.01) and clinical degree of chronic liver disease were found. D-dimer levels were significantly increased in decompensated cirrhosis (832.26 +/- 537.19 microg/L; p < 0.001) and no significant difference was found in group two and three when compared with healthy controls.
Conclusions: In advanced chronic liver disease anticoagulant activitiy may reflect hepatocellular dysfunction. Protein C activity may be used as a senstive marker of hepatocellular damage even in those patients with mild liver affection whereas D-dimer levels may be considered as an important sign of decompensation in cirrhotic patients. Further studies are necessary to approve whether these parameters could be used as clinical routine markers of hepatocyte function in chronic liver disease.