Thromboelastography better reflects hemostatic abnormalities in cirrhotics compared with the international normalized ratio

Justine Hum, Deron Amador, Joseph J. Shatzel, Willscott E. Naugler, Joseph Ahn, Atif Zaman, Michael Chang, Janice H. Jou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Goal:The goal of this study was to describe potential key differences in thromboelastography (TEG) variables in hospitalized cirrhotics compared with a healthy population, identify patterns of hematologic disturbance with disease progression, and assess the value of traditional tests such as international normalized ratio (INR) and platelet count to determine coagulopathy in cirrhotics.Background:TEG, a functional assay of coagulation, has emerged as a useful tool for predicting bleeding risk in cirrhosis.Study:Hospitalized cirrhotics who received a TEG before any blood products between January 2017 and February 2018 at a liver transplant center were included. Reaction time (r-time), coagulation time (k-time), angle-rate of clot polymerization (α) and maximum clot strength (maximum amplitude) were measured with kaolin-activated citrated blood TEG assays.Results:A total of 106 cirrhotic patients (Child-Turcotte-Pugh A, B, C; n=25, 25, 56) were identified for comparison against data from 53 healthy controls. TEG parameters in cirrhotics were statistically different from controls. Mean INR and platelet count for all cirrhotics were largely outside the normal reference range, contrary to TEG parameters which demonstrated parameters mostly within the normal reference ranges. The r-time, k-time, and α values in the cirrhotics progressively increased and maximum amplitude values progressively decreased as the liver disease progressed. Regression analysis showed no significant correlations between INR and r-time across any Child-Turcotte-Pugh class (r=0.01, 0.18, 0.23; P=0.95, 0.39, 0.08, respectively).Conclusions:Although cirrhotics had TEG parameters within normal ranges, there was a propensity for decreased clot formation as liver function worsened. Importantly, the INR did not correlate with TEG parameters in cirrhotic patients, and given the precarious hemostatic balance in these patients, a TEG may be a better predictor of bleeding risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)741-746
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of clinical gastroenterology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • INR
  • TEG
  • bleeding
  • cirrhosis
  • coagulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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