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01.12.2017 | Original research | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine 1/2017

Prothrombin time is predictive of low plasma prothrombin concentration and clinical outcome in patients with trauma hemorrhage: analyses of prospective observational cohort studies

Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine > Ausgabe 1/2017
Clare A. Balendran, Ann Lövgren, Kenny M. Hansson, Karin Nelander, Marita Olsson, Karin J. Johansson, Karim Brohi, Dietmar Fries, Anders Berggren



Fibrinogen and prothrombin have been suggested to become rate limiting in trauma associated coagulopathy. Administration of fibrinogen is now recommended, however, the importance of prothrombin to patient outcome is unknown.


We have utilized two trauma patient databases (database 1 n = 358 and database 2 n = 331) to investigate the relationship of plasma prothrombin concentration on clinical outcome and coagulation status. Database 1 has been used to assess the relationship of plasma prothrombin to administered packed red blood cells (PRBC), clinical outcome and coagulation biomarkers (Prothrombin Time (PT), ROTEM EXTEM Coagulation Time (CT) and Maximum Clot Firmness (MCF)). ROC analyses have been performed to investigate the ability of admission coagulation biomarkers to predict low prothrombin concentration (database 1), massive transfusion and 24 h mortality (database 1 and 2). The importance of prothrombin was further investigated in vitro by PT and ROTEM assays in the presence of a prothrombin neutralizing monoclonal antibody and following step-wise dilution.


Patients who survived the first 24 h had higher admission prothrombin levels compared to those who died (94 vs.67 IU/dL). Patients with lower transfusion requirements within the first 24 h (≤10 units of PRBCs) also had higher admission prothrombin levels compared to patients with massive transfusion demands (>10 units of PRBCs) (95 vs.62 IU/dL). Admission PT, in comparison to admission ROTEM EXTEM CT and MCF, was found to be a better predictor of prothrombin concentration <60 IU/dL (AUC 0.94 in database 1), of massive transfusion (AUC 0.92 and 0.81 in database 1 and 2 respectively) and 24 h mortality (AUC 0.90 and 0.78 in database 1 and 2, respectively). In vitro experiments supported a critical role for prothrombin in coagulation and demonstrated that PT and ROTEM EXTEM CT are sensitive methods to measure low prothrombin concentration.


Our analyses suggest that prothrombin concentration at admission is predictive of mortality and transfusion and indicates that prothrombin and fibrinogen are rate limiting in coagulopathy.


Admission PT is predictive of low prothrombin concentration and clinical outcome. PT could therefore be used as a surrogate for prothrombin concentration and further evaluation of point-of-care devices for faster PT analysis is warranted.
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