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Anesthesiology. 1999 Feb;90(2):385-90.

Assessment of changes in coagulation in parturients with preeclampsia using thromboelastography.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Management, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas 75235-9068, USA.



Preeclampsia is associated with a risk of abnormal hemostasis that occurs most commonly secondary to thrombocytopenia. Thromboelastography measures whole blood coagulation and has been used to manage coagulation defects in obstetric patients. The authors conducted this investigation in a large number of preeclamptic women to assess changes in coagulation using thromboelastography.


Thromboelastography and platelet counts were performed in 52 healthy pregnant women, 140 mild preeclamptic women, and 114 severe preeclamptic women in active labor using disposable plastic cups and pins and native whole blood. In preeclamptic patients with a platelet count <100,000/mm3, conventional coagulation tests were also performed. Epidural analgesia was provided in some women when they requested pain relief.


Fifteen percent of all preeclamptic women (38 of 254) and 2% (1 of 52) of healthy pregnant women had a platelet count <100,000/mm3. The incidence of thrombocytopenia <100,000/mm3 was 3% (4 of 140) and 30% (34 of 114) in mild preeclamptic patients and severe preeclamptic patients, respectively. Severe preeclamptic patients with a platelet count <100,000/mm3 were significantly hypocoagulable when compared to the other study groups. Ten severe preeclamptic women with a platelet count <100,000/mm3 had a maximum amplitude <54 mm (the lower limit of maximum amplitude in healthy pregnant women enrolled in this investigation). None of the mild preeclamptic women had a maximum amplitude <54 mm. Five severe preeclamptic women with a platelet count <100,000/mm3 had an abnormal coagulation profile, whereas all four mild preeclamptic women with a platelet count <100,000/mm3 had a normal coagulation profile.


This study shows that severe preeclamptic women with a platelet count <100,000/mm3 are hypocoagulable when compared to healthy pregnant women and other preeclamptic women.

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