Emergency medicine misconceptions: Utility of routine coagulation panels in the emergency department setting

Brit Long, Drew A. Long, Alex Koyfman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Coagulation panels are ordered for a variety of conditions in the emergency department (ED). Objective: This narrative review evaluates specific conditions for which a coagulation panel is commonly ordered but has limited utility in medical decision-making. Discussion: Coagulation panels consist of partial thromboplastin time (PTT) or activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), prothrombin time (PT), and international normalized ratio (INR). These tests evaluate the coagulation pathway which leads to formation of a fibrin clot. The coagulation panel can monitor warfarin and heparin therapy, evaluate for vitamin K deficiency, evaluate for malnutrition or severe systemic disease, and assess hemostatic function in the setting of bleeding. The utility of coagulation testing in chest pain evaluation, routine perioperative assessment, prior to initiation of anticoagulation, and as screening for admitted patients is low, with little to no change in patient management based on results of these panels. Coagulation testing should be considered in systemically ill patients, those with a prior history of bleeding or family history of bleeding, patients on anticoagulation, or patients with active hemorrhage and signs of bleeding. Thromboelastography and rotational thromboelastometry offer more reliable measures of coagulation function. Conclusions: Little utility for coagulation assessment is present for the evaluation of chest pain, routine perioperative assessment, initiation of anticoagulation, and screening for admitted patients. However, coagulation panel assessment should be considered in patients with hemorrhage, patients on anticoagulation, and personal history or family history of bleeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1226-1232
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Volume38
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Anticoagulation
  • Bleeding
  • Chest pain
  • Coagulation
  • Coagulation panel
  • Hemophilia
  • Hemorrhage
  • Laboratory
  • Perioperative
  • Preadmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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