Coagulation is a dynamic process and the understanding of the blood coagulation system has evolved over the recent years in anaesthetic practice. Although the traditional classification of the coagulation system into extrinsic and intrinsic pathway is still valid, the newer insights into coagulation provide more authentic description of the same. Normal coagulation pathway represents a balance between the pro coagulant pathway that is responsible for clot formation and the mechanisms that inhibit the same beyond the injury site. Imbalance of the coagulation system may occur in the perioperative period or during critical illness, which may be secondary to numerous factors leading to a tendency of either thrombosis or bleeding. A systematic search of literature on PubMed with MeSH terms 'coagulation system, haemostasis and anaesthesia revealed twenty eight related clinical trials and review articles in last 10 years. Since the balance of the coagulation system may tilt towards bleeding and thrombosis in many situations, it is mandatory for the clinicians to understand physiologic basis of haemostasis in order to diagnose and manage the abnormalities of the coagulation process and to interpret the diagnostic tests done for the same.
Keywords: Anaesthesia; Coagulation system; haemostasis.