Assessing the Methodology for Calculating Platelet Contribution to Clot Strength (Platelet Component) in Thromboelastometry and Thrombelastography

Anesth Analg. 2015 Oct;121(4):868-878. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000000859.


The viscoelastic properties of blood clot have been studied most commonly using thrombelastography (TEG) and thromboelastometry (ROTEM). ROTEM-based bleeding treatment algorithms recommend administering platelets to patients with low EXTEM clot strength (e.g., clot amplitude at 10 minutes [A10] <40 mm) once clot strength of the ROTEM® fibrin-based test (FIBTEM) is corrected. Algorithms based on TEG typically use a low value of maximum amplitude (e.g., <50 mm) as a trigger for administering platelets. However, this parameter reflects the contributions of various blood components to the clot, including platelets and fibrin/fibrinogen. The platelet component of clot strength may provide a more sensitive indication of platelet deficiency than clot amplitude from a whole blood TEG or ROTEM® assay. The platelet component of the formed clot is derived from the results of TEG/ROTEM® tests performed with and without platelet inhibition. In this article, we review the basis for why this calculation should be based on clot elasticity (e.g., the E parameter with TEG and the CE parameter with ROTEM®) as opposed to clot amplitude (e.g., the A parameter with TEG or ROTEM®). This is because clot elasticity, unlike clot amplitude, reflects the force with which the blood clot resists rotation within the device, and the relationship between clot amplitude (variable X) and clot elasticity (variable Y) is nonlinear. A specific increment of X (ΔX) will be associated with different increments of Y (ΔY), depending on the initial value of X. When calculated correctly, using clot elasticity data, the platelet component of the clot can provide a valuable insight into platelet deficiency in emergency bleeding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Coagulation / physiology*
  • Blood Platelets / physiology*
  • Elasticity / physiology
  • Humans
  • Platelet Count / methods
  • Platelet Count / standards
  • Thrombelastography / methods*
  • Thrombelastography / standards*