Author(s): Agarwal S, Joyner KA Jr, Swaim MW
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: Advanced liver disease is associated with both exaggerated fibrinolysis and with ascites. This study was undertaken to determine whether fibrinolytic activity exists in the ascites fluid of patients with liver disease and to see whether such activity is associated with evidence of plasma fibrinolysis. METHODS: Both the ascites fluid and plasma from 15 patients with cirrhotic ascites (group A) were evaluated for markers of fibrinolysis: fragment D-dimer, plasminogen, fibrinogen, and fibrin split products. In addition, the euglobulin lysis time, a test highly specific for fibrinolysis, was evaluated in the ascites fluid samples. As a control group, the plasma from 15 cirrhotic patients without ascites (group B) was evaluated for markers of fibrinolysis. RESULTS: In group A, elevated fragment D-dimer and fibrin split products were uniformly found in ascites fluid in concentrations that would be considered pathologically elevated if in plasma. Ascites fluid was also depleted, compared with plasma, of both plasminogen and fibrinogen. These results, along with the short euglobulin lysis time in 83\% of the patients, suggest that increased fibrinolytic activity is present in ascites fluid. In 93\% of these patients, plasma D-dimer was elevated. The mean plasma plasminogen was also low in these patients. In group B, only 33\% of patients had elevated plasma D-dimer. CONCLUSIONS: Ascites fluid has fibrinolytic activity. Because ascites fluid reenters the systemic circulation via the thoracic duct, via a natural peritoneovenous shunt, ascites fluid warrants serious consideration as a pathological fluid that contributes to the systemic fibrinolytic state found in the majority of our patients with ascites.
This article was published in Am J Gastroenterol
and referenced in Journal of Blood Disorders & Transfusion