Assessment and determinants of whole blood and plasma fibrinolysis in patients with mild bleeding symptoms

Minka J. A. Vries*, Fraser Macrae, Patricia J. Nelemans, Gerhardus J. A. J. M. Kuiper, Rick J. H. Wetzels, Polly Bowman, Paul W. M. Verhezen, Hugo ten Cate, Robert A. S. Ariens, Yvonne M. C. Henskens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Enhanced clot lysis is associated with bleeding, but assessment of lysis capacity remains difficult. The plasma turbidity lysis and whole blood tissue Plasminogen Activator-Rotational Thromboelastometry (tPA-ROTEM) assays estimate fibrinolysis under more physiological conditions than clinically used assays. We hypothesized that these assays could find signs of enhanced lysis capacity in patients who report bleeding symptoms, but are not diagnosed with bleeding disorders. We also aimed to gain insight in determinants of the results of these lysis assays. Data from 240 patients with and 95 patients without self-reported bleeding symptoms were obtained, who were included in a study that primarily aimed to assess prevalence of haemostatic abnormalities in pre-operative patients. ROTEM and turbidity assays were performed with rtPA. Blood counts, fibrinolysis and coagulation factor activities were determined. Data were analysed using multivariable linear regression models. Remarkably, patients reporting bleeding symptoms showed signs of significantly impaired lysis capacity in the tPA-ROTEM, but not in the turbidity lysis assay. In these patients, the tPA-ROTEM results depended on FII, FXII, plasminogen, alpha 2-antiplasmin, PAI-1 and TAFI levels. The turbidity lysis results were significantly influenced by fibrinogen, alpha 2-antiplasmin, PAI-1 and TAFI. In conclusion, the tPA-ROTEM and the turbidity lysis assay could not detect enhanced fibrinolytic capacity in patients with bleeding symptoms. This suggests that these symptoms are not caused by enhanced fibrinolytic activity. As both assays were sensitive to important determinants of fibrinolysis they may be able to detect a fibrinolytic imbalance, but this needs to be validated in patients with known hypo-or hyperfibrinolytic disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-94
Number of pages7
JournalThrombosis Research
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • Fibrinolysis
  • Bleeding
  • Diagnostic techniques
  • Rotational thromboelastometry
  • Turbidity


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