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Thromb Res. 2012 Jun;129(6):681-7. doi: 10.1016/j.thromres.2011.12.006. Epub 2012 Jan 4.

Global haemostasis assays, from bench to bedside.

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Laboratory of Haematology, department of Laboratory Medicine, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.


Bleeding and thrombosis are the ultimate clinical outcomes of aberrations in the haemostatic process. Haemostasis prevents excessive blood loss due to the effort of various compartments like the vasculature, blood cells, coagulation and fibrinolysis. The complexity of all processes involved makes the diagnosis of aberrations difficult, cumbersome and expensive. A single assay to detect any factor disturbing this haemostatic balance with high sensitivity and specificity would be of great value, especially if the outcome of this assay correlates well with clinical outcome. Despite years of research, such an assay is not yet available; however, some interesting candidates are under development and combine the effects of various compartments. This review describes the development of global haemostasis assays and summarizes the current state of the art of these haemostasis assays covering thrombin and plasmin generation, turbidity and thromboelastography/thromboelastometry. Finally, we discuss the applicability of global assays in clinical practice and we provide a future perspective on the ongoing development of automation and miniaturisation as it is our belief that these developments will benefit the standardization of global haemostasis assays.

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