Objective – To determine if changes in viscoelastic variables are associated with abnormalities observed in the standard coagulation profile and patient outcome in foals with suspected septicemia.
Design – Prospective clinical trial during 2003 and 2004 foal season.
Setting – Neonatal intensive care unit at a veterinary teaching hospital.
Animals – Thirty critically ill foals <72-hour-old admitted sequentially meeting criteria for systemic inflammatory response associated with infection.
Interventions – Hemostatic evaluation, using standard coagulation testing and viscoelastic analysis, was performed at admission, 24 hours following admission, and 48 hours following admission in critically ill foals. Standard coagulation tests included platelet count, prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time, fibrinogen, fibrin(ogen) degradation products, and antithrombin. Data collected from viscoelastic analysis included time to initial clot formation (ACT), clot rate, and platelet function. Signalment, blood culture results, clinicopathologic data, and outcome were collected from medical records. Equality of populations test was used to determine associations between coagulation tests and blood culture status/outcome, as well as between viscoelastic parameters and coagulopathy, blood culture status, and outcome. Logistic regression was used to quantify associations. A significance level of P<0.05 was used.
Measurements and Main Results – Foals with decreasing clot rate (CR) over the sample period were more likely to be euthanized or die (P=0.02). Foals with prolonged ACT (P=0.03), and decreased CR at admission (P=0.047), were more commonly coagulopathic. Identification of coagulopathy on admission (P=0.02), or persistence of hemostatic dysfunction 48 hours later (P=0.04), was associated with death.
Conclusions – Viscoelastic coagulation evaluation could be used in a neonatal intensive care unit setting to further characterize coagulopathy, and identify foals at higher risk for poor outcome.