Low hemoglobin concentration impairs clinical hemostasis across several diseases. It is unclear whether hemoglobin impacts laboratory functional coagulation assessments. We evaluated the relationship of hemoglobin concentration on viscoelastic hemostatic assays in intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) and perioperative patients admitted to an ICU.
Observational cohort study and separate in vitro laboratory study.
Multicenter tertiary referral ICUs.
Two acute ICH cohorts receiving distinct testing modalities: rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM) and thromboelastography (TEG), and a third surgical ICU cohort receiving ROTEM were evaluated to assess the generalizability of findings across disease processes and testing platforms. A separate in vitro ROTEM laboratory study was performed utilizing ICH patient blood samples.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:
Relationships between baseline hemoglobin and ROTEM/TEG results were separately assessed across patient cohorts using Spearman correlations and linear regression models. A separate in vitro study assessed ROTEM tracing changes after serial hemoglobin modifications from ICH patient blood samples. In both our ROTEM (n = 34) and TEG (n = 239) ICH cohorts, hemoglobin concentrations directly correlated with coagulation kinetics (ROTEM r: 0.46; p = 0.01; TEG r: 0.49; p < 0.0001) and inversely correlated with clot strength (ROTEM r: –0.52, p = 0.002; TEG r: –0.40, p < 0.0001). Similar relationships were identified in perioperative ICU admitted patients (n = 121). We continued to identify these relationships in linear regression models. When manipulating ICH patient blood samples to achieve lower hemoglobin concentrations in vitro, we similarly identified that lower hemoglobin concentrations resulted in progressively faster coagulation kinetics and greater clot strength on ROTEM tracings.
Lower hemoglobin concentrations have a consistent, measurable impact on ROTEM/TEG testing in ICU admitted patients, which appear to be artifactual. It is possible that patients with low hemoglobin may appear to have normal viscoelastic parameters when, in fact, they have a mild hypocoagulable state. Further work is required to determine if these tests should be corrected for a patient’s hemoglobin concentration.