Fibrinogen measurement in liver disease: validation of the functional fibrinogen thromboelastography assay and a novel mathematical predictive model.

Blood Transfus 2019 05 9;17(3):237-246. Epub 2018 Nov 9.

Coagulation Laboratory, Department of Pathology, "Mater Dei" Hospital, Msida, Malta.

Background: Fibrinogen is produced in the liver and tends to be reduced in liver cirrhosis. Quantitative and qualitative tests exist to measure fibrinogen. We aimed to validate the functional fibrinogen thromboelastography assay (FF-TEG) and propose a new model to estimate fibrinogen levels via the Clauss method (Clauss) using data from a prothrombin time-derived fibrinogen assay (PT-Fg) in patients with liver cirrhosis.

Materials And Methods: Clauss, PT-Fg, fibrinogen antigen (Fib-Ag) and FF-TEG were studied in 55 patients with liver cirrhosis (26 with Child-Turcotte-Pugh [CTP]-A disease, 14 with CTP-B and 15 CTP-C) and 20 healthy individuals.

Results: The results of all four assays correlated strongly with each other, but gave significantly different mean levels in all cohorts. PT-Fg gave the highest levels whereas the Clauss gave the lowest levels. The FF-TEG performed well with results which were in between the Clauss and the PT-Fg. Significant differences were only observed between CTP-A and CTP-C for the Clauss, PT-Fg and Fib-Ag but not functional fibrinogen level. We devised a simple linear regression model in order to estimate Clauss from the PT-Fg.

Discussion: The results of the FF-TEG correlate well with those of routine fibrinogen assays in patients with liver cirrhosis. However, the FF-TEG assay does not discriminate between early and late stages of disease, pointing to a preserved fibrin clot strength in cirrhosis. Through linear regression models, fibrinogen levels can be accurately estimated using the Clauss method based on fibrinogen levels obtained in the cheaper PT-Fg.

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