Plasma fibrinogen

Lowe, Gordon DO; Rumley, Ann; Mackie, Ian J
November 2004
Annals of Clinical Biochemistry;Nov2004, Vol. 41 Issue 6, p430
Academic Journal
Fibrinogen is the major plasma protein coagulation factor. Low plasma fibrinogen concentrations are therefore associated with an increased risk of bleeding due to impaired primary and secondary haemostasis. Fibrinogen is a classical positive acute-phase reactant protein and is an independent predictor of coronary heart disease events. This review considers available methods for measurement of fibrinogen and makes recommendations as to their appropriate use. Total clottable fibrinogen assays are the definitive and reference method for plasma fibrinogen measurement. However, they are time-consuming and are rarely required in clinical practice. Clotting rate assays remain the routine method of choice for investigation, monitoring and treatment of bleeding disorders associated with low plasma fibrinogen concentrations. They are appropriately sited in haematology or haemostasis laboratories, with facilities for further relevant investigations, and expert advice from consultant haematologists on appropriate management. They have also been used in the majority of studies investigating increasing fibrinogen concentrations as a cardiovascular risk factor. Prothrombin-time derived assays are widely used, because they are less expensive and come at no extra cost with prothrombin time assays. However, their results vary widely with analysers and reagents, show discrepancies with clotting rate assays for both low and normal plasma fibrinogen samples, and at present they are not recommended by routine clinical use. Immunoassays (radial immunodiffusion, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or nephelometric) are useful in (a) differentiating hypofibrinogenaemia from dysfibrinogenaemia, and (b) assessing cardiovascular risk and acute-phase reactions. Unlike clottable fibrinogen assays, immunoassays can be performed in dipotassium edetate anticoagulated samples.


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