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Keywords:

  • coagulation;
  • consistency;
  • global assays;
  • reproducibility;
  • standardization;
  • thromboelastography

Summary.  Laboratory evaluation of bleeding disorders has been performed with the standard clotting assays such as the PT and PTT for several decades. Our improved understanding of the process of blood coagulation has now revealed the important role played by the cellular elements such as platelets, monocytes and red blood cells. The need for a test that can assess clotting in a more ‘global’ manner, beyond the initiation of clot formation, has led to greater interest in assays such as thrombin generation and thromboelastography. Even though there are several publications using thromboelastography it remains a research tool as the methodology is not standardized. In an attempt to show reproducibility and consistency using thromboelastography, a group of investigators from different countries joined hands to form the TEG-ROTEM Working Group. Two studies were performed using PRP and FVIII deficient plasma and an intrinsic pathway activator. This article summarizes the results of the first international effort at standardization of thromboelastography. Both of the instruments using this technology (TEG® and ROTEM®) were used. Nine laboratories from countries around the globe participated in this effort. The results showed a significant inter-laboratory variance with CV’s greater than 10%. Although these results were not satisfactory, this has been the first effort to standardize this methodology and significant work remains to be done to improve reliability and reproducibility. These studies were performed on PRP and the results may be more reliable when preformed on whole blood samples. We believe that it is important to continue this work so that we may investigate the usefulness and potential applications of thromboelastography in the evaluation of bleeding and thrombosis.