What is a coagulation profile?

A coagulation profile (coags) includes INRAPTTplatelets and fibrinogen. It is a screening test for abnormal blood clotting because it examines the factors most often associated with a bleeding problem. It does not cover all causes of bleeding tendencies.

How is a coagulation profile test performed?

A coagulation profile is a blood test. It requires a few mililitres of blood from a vein, and it is important that the blood sample tube is filled to the correct level – otherwise false readings may occur.

Why would you need to get a coagulation profile?

coagulation profile may be performed to confirm normal clotting function before a procedure which may cause bleeding, or in conditions associated with bleeding, for example from the respiratory, urinary, or gastrointestinal tract.

A coagulation profile may also be requested by your doctor if there is a concern about easy bruising or bleeding. This may happen because of hereditary conditions such as Haemophilia, or acquired conditions such as liver failure, or severe infections.

A condition called Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC) may occur in critically ill patients, from a variety of possible causes. DIC affects all the components of the coagulation profile.

Envenomation from some types of snakebite may also cause a coagulopathy – an abnormality of the normal clotting process. Warfarin therapy is a medical cause of easy bleeding, and shows up in the INR component of the coagulation profile.

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Test results explained

The Coagulation profile consists of a number of components, including:

  • APTT (activated partial thromboplastin time) – measures one part of the clotting pathway known as the “intrinsic pathway” – it is compared against a sample of normal blood, the “control” value. It is increased by therapy with intravenous heparin, haemophilia, or DIC.
  • INR (international normalised ratio) – measures one part of the clotting pathway known as the “extrinsic pathway” – it is increased by warfarin therapy, liver dysfunction, or DIC.
  • Platelet Count – the number of platelets in the bloodstream; it is also a routine component of the Full Blood Count(FBC)
  • Fibrinogen – this protein is a precursor to fibrin, which is an essential part of a blood clot. Fibrinogen may be consumed by conditions such as DIC or some snakebite envenomations. Decreased fibrinogen results in an increased bleeding tendency.
  • D-dimer is sometimes included – this is a product of clot breakdown, and is increased in conditions of increased clotting activity in the body, but is relatively non-specific because it is often elevated due to different reasons.

The specific results of the coagulation profile wil help your doctor to decide whether any further investigations (tests) are required.

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Also known as

  • Coagulation studies
  • Clotting studies
  • ‘Coags’

 

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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If in doubt, HealthEngine recommends consulting with a registered health practitioner.