Background. Thromboelastometry (ROTEM(R)) might be useful to detect intraoperative coagulation disorders early in major paediatric surgery. This observational trial compares this technique to standard coagulation tests.
Methods. Intraoperative blood sampling was obtained in children undergoing elective major surgery. At each time point, standard coagulation tests [activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), prothrombin time (PT), and fibrinogen level] and ROTEM(R) analyses (InTEM, ExTEM, and FibTEM) were performed simultaneously by trained hospital laboratory staff.
Results. A total of 288 blood samples from 50 subjects were analysed. While there was a poor correlation between PT and aPTT to ExTEM clotting time (CT) and InTEM CT, respectively, a good correlation was detected between PT and aPTT to clot formation time, and a very good correlation between fibrinogen level and FibTEM assay (r=0.882, P<0.001). Notably, 64% of PT and 94% of aPTT measurements were outside the reference range, while impaired CT was observed in 13% and 6.3%, respectively. Standard coagulation test results were available after a median of 53 min [inter-quartile range (IQR): 45–63 min], whereas 10 min values of ROTEM(R) results were available online after 23 min (IQR: 21–24 min).
Conclusions. PT and aPTT cannot be interchangeably used with ROTEM(R) CT. Based on the results of ROTEM(R), recommended thresholds for PT and aPTT might overestimate the need for coagulation therapy. A good correlation was found between the fibrinogen level and the FibTEM assay. In addition, ROTEM(R) offered faster turnaround times.