Laboratory hemostasis: from biology to the bench

Giuseppe Lippi, Emmanuel J Favaloro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Physiological hemostasis is an intricate biological system, where procoagulant and anticoagulant forces interplay and preserves blood fluidity when blood vessels are intact, or trigger clot formation to prevent excessive bleeding when blood vessels are injured. The modern model of hemostasis is divided into two principal phases. The first, defined as primary hemostasis, involves the platelet-vessel interplay, whilst the second, defined as secondary hemostasis, mainly involves coagulation factors, damaged cells and platelet surfaces, where the so-called coagulation cascade rapidly develops. The activation and amplification of the coagulation cascade is finely modulated by the activity of several physiological inhibitors. Once bleeding has been efficiently stopped by blood clot formation, dissolution of the thrombus is essential to restore vessel permeability. This process, known as fibrinolysis, also develops through coordinate action of a vast array of proteins and enzymes. An accurate diagnosis of hemostasis disturbance entails a multifaceted approach, encompassing family and personal history of hemostatic disorders, accurate collection of clinical signs and symptoms, integrated with laboratory hemostasis testing. Regarding laboratory testing, a reasonable approach entails classifying hemostasis testing according to cost, complexity and available clinical information. Laboratory workout may hence initiate with some rapid and inexpensive "screening" tests, characterized by high negative predictive value, then followed by second- or third-line analyses, specifically aimed to clarify the nature and severity of bleeding or thrombotic phenotype. This article aims to provide a general overview of the hemostatic process, and to provide some general suggestions to optimally facilitate laboratory hemostasis testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1035-1045
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number7
Early online date19 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2018


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