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Coagulation in hepatobiliary disease


  • The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to

Dr. Cynthia Webster, Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA.




To review the pathogenesis and clinical consequences of coagulation abnormalities accompanying hepatobiliary disorders and to highlight the need for further studies to characterize these derangements and their treatment options in small animal patients.

Data Sources

Veterinary and human medical literature: original research articles, scientific reviews, consensus statements, and recent texts.


The liver plays an important role in the production and clearance of many components of coagulation. A wide range of hemostatic derangements can occur in patients with hepatobiliary disease including alterations in platelet number and function, coagulation factor levels, anticoagulants, vascular endothelial function, and fibrinolysis. As these hemostatic alterations include both pro- and anticoagulation pathways, the net result is often a rebalanced hemostatic system that can be easily disrupted by concurrent conditions resulting in either clinical bleeding or thrombosis. Conventional coagulation tests are inadequate at identifying the spectrum of coagulation alterations occurring in patients with hepatobiliary disease, but their evaluation is necessary to assess bleeding risk and provide prognostic information. A paucity of information exists regarding the treatment of the coagulation derangements in small animals with hepatobiliary disease. Extrapolation from human studies provides some information about potential treatment options, but further studies are warranted in this area to elucidate the best management for coagulation abnormalities in dogs and cats with hepatobiliary disease.


Hepatobiliary disease can have profound effects on coagulation function leading to hypercoagulable or hypocoagulable states. Overall coagulation status with hepatobiliary disease depends on both the type and severity of disease and the presence of associated complications.