Background Prothrombin time-international normalized ratio (PT-INR) is widely utilized to guide plasma therapy and initiation of thromboprophylaxis after a hepatectomy. Thrombelastography (TEG) monitors shear elasticity, which is sensitive to cellular and plasma components in blood, allowing for functional assessment of the life of the clot. The objective of this study was to prospectively compare PT-INR and TEG in liver resection patients. Methods Forty patients were enrolled before undergoing an elective hepatectomy. Patients underwent a liver resection utilizing a low central venous pressure (CVP) anaesthetic technique and intermittent Pringle manoeuver. PT-INR and TEG were drawn prior to incision, post-operatively, and post-operative days 1, 3 and 5. Results All post-operative PT-INR values increased significantly when compared with pre-operative PT-INR (P < 0.01). The time of onset to clot (R-value) decreased significantly at the post-operative time point (P = 0.04), consistent with a relative hypercoagulability. Subsequent R-values were not different compared with the pre-operative R-value. The strength of the clot (maximum amplitude, MA) was unchanged when comparing pre- and post-operative time points. Discussion In spite of an elevation in PT-INR, patients undergoing a liver resection demonstrated a brief hypercoagulable state, followed by normal coagulation function based on TEG. These data call into question the practice of utilizing PT-INR to guide plasma transfusion and timing of prophylactic anticoagulation after a liver resection.
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