Global coagulation assays in healthy controls: are there compensatory mechanisms within the coagulation system?

Hui Yin Lim, Brandon Lui, Mark Tacey, Carly Selan, Geoffrey Donnan, Louise M. Burrell, Harshal Nandurkar, Prahlad Ho

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Global coagulation assays (GCAs) may provide a more comprehensive individual hemostatic profiling. We aim to evaluate GCAs (thromboelastography, thrombin generation) in healthy controls, and correlate results with age, gender, lipid status, tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) and P-selectin. Blood samples were collected from healthy controls (> 18 years of age) not taking anticoagulation or antiplatelet agents and without known cardiovascular disease. Thromboelastography (TEG) was performed on citrated whole blood while calibrated automated thrombogram (CAT), P-selectin (endothelial marker) and TFPI (principle inhibitor of tissue factor-initiated coagulation) were performed on platelet-poor plasma. 153 healthy controls (mean age 42 years, 98 females (64%)) were recruited. Female controls demonstrated more hypercoagulable TEG and CAT parameters while those over 50 years of age demonstrated more hypercoagulable TEG parameters despite comparable thrombin generation. Paradoxically, individuals with “flattened” thrombin curves (lower velocity index (rate of thrombin generation) despite preserved endogenous thrombin potential (amount of thrombin)) were more likely to be male (49% vs 20%, p = 0.003) with increased low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (3.3 vs 2.6 mmol/L, p = 0.003), P-selectin (54.2 vs 47.3 ng/mL, p = 0.038) and TFPI (18.7 vs 8.6 ng/ml, p = 0.001). In addition to reduced velocity index and thrombin peak, controls in the highest TFPI tertile also demonstrated a poorer lipid profile. GCAs can detect subtle changes of the hemostatic profile. Interestingly, reduced thrombin generation was paradoxically associated with increased cardiovascular risk factors, possibly attributable to increased TFPI. This finding may suggest compensation by the coagulation system in response to endothelial activation and represent a biomarker for early cardiovascular disease. A larger prospective study evaluating these assays in the cardiovascular disease population is ongoing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)610–619
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Blood coagulation tests
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Thrombin
  • Thromboelastography
  • Tissue factor pathway inhibitor

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