Background & aims: Hyperfibrinolysis may complicate the clinical course of liver cirrhosis. The aim of this study was to evaluate if, in cirrhosis, hyperfibrinolysis is primary or secondary to intravascular clotting activation and if endotoxemia is associated with activation of clotting and/or the fibrinolytic system.
Methods: Clotting, fibrinolytic indexes, and endotoxemia were studied in 41 cirrhotic patients and 20 healthy subjects.
Results: Twenty-seven cirrhotic patients (66%) had high plasma levels of prothrombin fragment F1 + 2, a marker of thrombin generation. Nineteen patients had elevated values of D-dimer, a marker of fibrinolysis in vivo. All patients with high values of D-dimer also had high values of prothrombin fragment F1 + 2. Endotoxemia was elevated in patients with severe liver failure and significantly correlated to prothrombin fragment F1 + 2. Thirty patients were treated for 7 days either with standard therapy (n = 15) or with standard therapy plus nonabsorbable antibiotics (n = 15). Although standard therapy did not significantly change laboratory indexes, a significant reduction of endotoxemia, prothrombin fragment F1 + 2, and D-dimer was found in those patients who received the combined treatment.
Conclusions: This study shows that, in cirrhotic patients, hyperfibrinolysis is not a primary phenomenon but occurs as a consequence of clotting activation and that endotoxemia might play a pathophysiological role.