Department of Hepatology and Liver Transplantation. Department of Transfusion Medicine. Department of Critical Care Medicine. Department of Pathology. Department of Clinical Research. Department of Biostatistics, Institute of Liver & Biliary Sciences, New Delhi, India.
Thromboelastography (TEG) provides a more comprehensive global coagulation assessment than routine tests (international normalized ratio [INR] and platelet [PLT] count), and its use may avoid unnecessary blood component transfusion in patients with advanced cirrhosis and significant coagulopathy who have nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. A total of 96 patients with significant coagulopathy (defined in this study as INR >1.8 and/or
PLT count <50 x 10(9) /L) and nonvariceal upper GI bleed (diagnosed after doing upper gastrointestinal endoscopy [UGIE], which showed ongoing bleed from a nonvariceal source) were randomly allocated to TEG-guided transfusion strategy (TEG group; n = 49) or standard-of-care (SOC) group (n = 47). In the TEG group, only 26.5% patients were transfused with all three blood components (fresh frozen plasma [FFP], PLTs, and cryoprecipitate) versus 87.2% in the SOC group (P < 0.001). Whereas 7 (14.3%) patients in the TEG group received no blood component transfusion, there were no such patients in the SOC group (P = 0.012). Also, there was a significantly lower use of blood components (FFP, PLTs, and cryoprecipitate) in the TEG group compared to the SOC group. Failure to control bleed, failure to prevent rebleeds, and mortality between the two groups were similar. CONCLUSION In patients with advanced cirrhosis with coagulopathy and nonvariceal upper GI bleeding, TEG-guided transfusion strategy leads to a significantly lower use of blood components compared to SOC (transfusion guided by INR and PLT count), without an increase in failure to control bleed, failure to prevent rebleed, and mortality.