Patients with cirrhosis, or permanent liver damage, are at higher risk for coagulation disorders, which impact your body’s ability to control blood clotting. This puts cirrhosis patients at increased risk of morbidity and mortality when undergoing diagnostic or therapeutic invasive procedures. The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) has released new clinical guidelines to change how physicians identify and treat coagulation disorders in patients with cirrhosis. In this new guidance, AGA recommends against the use of extensive preprocedural testing to estimate clotting in patients with cirrhosis. These guidelines, which were developed after a detailed review of available literature, are published in Gastroenterology, AGA’s official journal.
“Patients with cirrhosis typically have abnormal markers of coagulation, which in the past were interpreted as indicating a higher risk of bleeding,” says lead author Dr. Robert S. O’Shea of the Cleveland Clinic Main Campus in Cleveland, Ohio. “However, this has not been borne out in clinical practice, and accumulating evidence suggests that the use of these tests is inappropriate. Despite this, because of the concerns related to these tests of blood clotting, the care of these patients has been compromised - requiring frequent and often unnecessary testing or transfusion prior to undergoing routine procedures important in their treatment. This has essentially exposed them to risk with no benefit.”
Key guideline recommendations:
Cirrhosis is permanent injury or damage to the liver by chronic diseases, such as viral hepatitis (b or c), nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, hemochromatosis, or long-term alcohol abuse. Learn more in the AGA GI Patient Center.