The pathophysiology of trauma-induced coagulopathy

Curr Opin Crit Care. 2012 Dec;18(6):631-6. doi: 10.1097/MCC.0b013e3283599ab9.


Purpose of review: Transfusion paradigms and protocols have evolved at a rapid pace in the last few years to ameliorate the adverse effects of trauma-induced coagulopathy (TIC). This has occurred despite fragmented and inadequate knowledge of the underlying pathophysiology that they are supposed to treat. This review will collate and assimilate the most recent data about TIC in order to present our state-of-the-art understanding of this condition.

Recent findings: TIC was conventionally construed simply as depletion, dysfunction or dilution of procoagulant factors. However, contemporary understanding recognizes it as an imbalance of the dynamic equilibrium between procoagulant factors, anticoagulant factors, platelets, endothelium and fibrinolysis. The endogenous component of TIC (acute traumatic coagulopathy) is not merely a consumptive coagulopathy, but is characterized by isolated factor V inhibition, dysfibrinogenaemia, systemic anticoagulation, impaired platelet function and hyperfibrinolysis. Acute traumatic coagulopathy then becomes exacerbated by hypothermia, acidosis and resuscitation with hypocoagulable fluids.

Summary: Further improvement in the outcome from trauma-haemorrhage is possible with more refined and tailored haemostatic resuscitation. Achieving this will depend upon a better understanding of the haemostatic defects that develop after injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / etiology*
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Humans
  • Wounds and Injuries / blood
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications*