An updated view of hemostasis: mechanisms of hemostatic dysfuntion associated with sepsis


Address correspondence to:
Dr. Kate Hopper, Department of Surgery and Radiology, Room 2112, Tupper Hall University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.


Objective: To review the current understanding of mechanisms involved in normal hemostasis and to describe the changes associated with pro-inflammatory disease processes such as sepsis.

Data sources: Original research articles and scientific reviews.

Human data synthesis: Organ damage caused by sepsis is created in part by the interdependent relationship between hemostasis and inflammation. Markers of coagulation have been found to have prognostic value in human patients with sepsis and there are both experimental and clinical investigations of the therapeutic potential of modulating the hemostatic system in sepsis. Improvement of 28-day all-cause mortality in severe sepsis by treatment with recombinant human activated Protein C strongly supports the interdependence of hemostasis and inflammation in the pathophysiology of sepsis.

Veterinary data synthesis: Publications reporting clinical evaluation of the hemostatic changes occurring in septic dogs or cats are minimal. Experimental animal models of sepsis reveal significant similarity between human and animal sepsis and may provide relevance to clinical veterinary medicine until prospective clinical evaluations are published.

Conclusions: It is now apparent that inflammation and the coagulation system are intimately connected. Understanding this relationship provides some insight into the pathogenesis of the hemostatic changes associated with sepsis. This new updated view of hemostasis may lead to the development of novel therapeutic approaches to sepsis and disseminated intravascular coagulation in veterinary medicine.