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Pediatr Surg Int. 1997 Apr;12(4):289-92.

Prediction of neonatal sepsis by thromboelastography.

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Department of Paediatric Surgery, University of Natal, P. O. Box 17039, Congella 4013, Natal, South Africa.


The thromboelastogram (TEG) measures functional defects in coagulation, from fibrin formation through platelet aggregation to fibrinolysis. It is comparable with standard laboratory tests of coagulation; however, it provides additional useful qualitative information. This prospective study documents the TEG findings in 103 neonates: 60 were normal and healthy and provided a reference range; 12 surgical babies had established sepsis, 15 had early sepsis, and 16 were non-septic. TEG abnormalities were detected only in those patients with early and established sepsis. Abnormalities were found in all but 1 of this group of 27 patients (96%), whereas only 16 (59%) had thrombocytopenia, 2 (6%) had leukocytosis, and 6 had leukopenia. The TEG had a sensitivity for sepsis of 96% and a specificity of 96%. This exceeds the values for routine full blood-count parameters and other laboratory indicators of sepsis. It was found to be a simple, quick, and sensitive indicator of early sepsis that enabled the clinicians to manage septic newborns earlier.

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