A clinical survey of bleeding, thrombosis, and blood product use in decompensated cirrhosis patients

Ann Hepatol. 2012 Sep-Oct;11(5):686-90.


Background: The relative incidence of bleeding and thrombotic events and the use of blood products in hospitalized cirrhosis patients have not been widely reported. We aimed to estimate the magnitude of bleeding events and venous thrombosis in consecutive hospitalized cirrhotic patients over a finite time period and to examine the amount and indications for blood product use in cirrhosis patients admitted to a tertiary care center.

Results: Among patients admitted with decompensated liver disease, 34 (40%) suffered bleeding events (about one-half non-variceal) and 6 patients (7%) suffered deep venous thrombosis. In the blood product survey, 168 patients were transfused with plasma or platelets during the survey inter- vals. Liver disease patients accounted for 7.7% of the total but disproportionately consumed 32.4% (46 of 142) of the units of plasma mostly administered as prophylaxis. In contrast, cirrhosis patients received only 7 of the 53 units of platelets transfused (13.2%) during the survey intervals.

Conclusions: Coagulation issues constitute a common problem in patients with liver disease. Recent advances in laboratory testing have shown that stable cirrhosis patients are relatively hypercoagulable. The result of this prospective survey among decompensated (unstable) cirrhosis patients shows that, while DVT is not uncommon, bleeding (non-variceal in one half) remains the dominant clinical problem. This situation likely sustains the common practice of plasma infusion in these patients although its use is of unproven and questionable benefit. Better clinical tools are needed to refine clinical practice in this setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Coagulation
  • Blood Component Transfusion / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Hemorrhage / blood
  • Hemorrhage / epidemiology*
  • Hemorrhage / therapy*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Liver Cirrhosis / blood
  • Liver Cirrhosis / epidemiology*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / therapy*
  • Platelet Transfusion / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Tertiary Care Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors
  • Venous Thrombosis / blood
  • Venous Thrombosis / epidemiology*
  • Venous Thrombosis / therapy*
  • Virginia / epidemiology