Clinical management of acute severe bleeding in the perioperative setting is one of the major challenges for an anesthetic team. The dynamic nature of bleeding calls for rapid diagnosis and immediate interventions. Trauma induced coagulopathy and/or perioperative coagulopathy management is crucial for successful and life saving interventions, involving blood and blood product transfusions in an individualized and rationalized manner. Traditional coagulopathy monitoring using bleeding times offers very little in prediction and guidance during severe bleeding. They are mostly designed for stable patients under anticoagulant treatments and their very long turnaround time renders them impractical for clinical use in this setting. In contrast, viscoelastic devices are designed to assess whole-blood clotting kinetics and whole-blood clot strength and better reflect the interaction between pro- and anti-coagulants, pro- and anti-fibrinolytic factors, and platelets. The most notable advance in haemostatic management using viscoelastic testing is a fibrin-specific clot assessment. The system uses a combination of assays to characterize the coagulation profile for obtaining more detailed information about haemostasis and suggests the cause of the observed coagulopathy. The article offers a thorough and concise presentation of both traditional and viscoelastic methods and techniques in use during severe haemorrhage, followed by a literature review on the use of viscoelastic haemostatic monitoring in different clinical settings. Continue reading
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