Introduction. The etiology of the coagulation changes seen with supraceliac (SC) aortic crossclamping (AXC) remains controversial; both primary fabrinolysis and clotting factor consumption have been implicated. The cause of these changes was investigated with thromboelastography (TEG), a test that measures the viscoelastic properties of thrombus to dynamically assess coagulation and fibrinolysis. Methods. Eight pigs underwent SC AXC for 30 min; 5 pigs undergoing 30 min of infrarenal (IR) aortic clamping served as controls. Blood was drawn before AXC, before unclamping, and 5 and 60 min after unclamping. Thromboelastography and standard coagulation tests [prothrombin time (PT), partial thromboplastin time (PTT), fibrinogen, and platelet count] were performed. Measured TEG parameters included fibrinolytic index (a measure of fibrinolysis), r value (a reflection of intrinsic coagulation cascade activity), and the α angle and K values (measures of the speed of solid clot formation). Repeated measures ANOVA and t test were used for statistical analysis. Results. There was no difference in the fibrinolytic index at any time point between the two groups. Increased activity of the intrinsic coagulation cascade during SC clamping was reflected by a lower R value just before unclamping (12.6 ± 3.0 vs 20.0 ± 3.0, P = 0.048) compared to IR AXC. Decreased speed of solid clot formation was noted 5 min after unclamping in the SC group but not the IR group [as defined by an increased K value (ANOVA, P = 0.010) and a decreased angle value (ANOVA, P = 0.005)]. Fibrinogen levels were lower in the SC than in the IR group 5 (P = 0.013) and 60 min after unclamping (P = 0.02), but PT, PTT, and platelets did not differ between the groups at any time points. Conclusions. Thirty minutes of SC AXC does not result in fibrinolysis. There is increased clotting activity during SC clamping followed by decreased speed of clot formation and decreased fibrinogen levels after unclamping. These changes are consistent with clotting factor consumption.
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