Evolution of hemostasis testing: A personal reflection covering over 40 years of history

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There is no certainty in change, other than change is certain. As Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis celebrates 50 years of publication, I felt it appropriate to reflect on my own 40-year plus scientific career. My career in the thrombosis and hemostasis field did not start until 1987, but the subsequent 35 years reflected a period of significant change in associated disease diagnostics. I started in the Westmead Hospital "coagulation laboratory" when staff were still performing manual clotting tests, using stopwatches, pipettes, test tubes, and a water bath, which we transported to the hospital outpatient department to run our weekly warfarin clinic. Several hemostasis instruments have come and gone, including the Coag-A-Mate X2, the ACL-300R, the MDA-180, the BCS XP, and several StaR Evolution analyzers. Some instruments remain, including the PFA-100, PFA-200, the AggRAM, the CS-5100, an AcuStar, a Hydrasys gel system, and two ACL-TOP 750s. We still have a water bath, but this is primarily used to defrost frozen samples, and manual clotting tests are only used to teach visiting medical students. We have migrated across several methodologies in the 45-year history of the local laboratory. Laurel gel rockets, used for several assays in the 1980s, were replaced with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay assays and most assays were eventually placed on automated instruments. Radio-isotopic assays, used in the 1980s, were replaced by an alternate safer method or else abandoned. Test numbers have increased markedly over time. The approximately 31,000 hemostasis assays performed at the Westmead-based laboratory in 1983 had become approximately 200,000 in 2022, a sixfold increase. Some 90,000 prothrombin times and activated partial thromboplastic times are now performed at this laboratory per year. Thrombophilia assays were added to the test repertoires over time, as were the tests to measure several anticoagulant drugs, most recently the direct oral anticoagulants. I hope my personal history, reflecting on the changes in hemostasis testing over my career to date in the field, is found to be of interest to the readership, and I hope they forgive any inaccuracies I have introduced in this reflection of the past.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-25
Number of pages18
JournalSeminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis
Issue number1
Early online date02 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


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