Basic Definitions and Components

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Basic Definitions and Components

Many healthcare professionals think of "hemostasis" as only thrombosis/clotting. It is important, however, for the laboratory professional to understand the full scope of hemostasis in order to grasp the mechanism and interpretation of the complete battery of coagulation testing now available.
Hemostasis encompasses not only the promotion of coagulation that lead to thrombosis, but also fibrinolysis (clot breakdown) and a group of natural, pre-existing coagulation inhibitors.
Promotors of coagulation include the interactions between blood vessels, platelets, and coagulation factors. These components are discussed by the order in which they occur (either primary or secondary), with primary coagulation leading to secondary coagulation:
  • Primary coagulation = actions of the blood vessel wall and platelets
  • Secondary coagulation = actions of coagulation factor proteins, enabled by the results of primary coagulation
Inhibitors of coagulation include the body’s natural coagulation inhibitors and the fibrinolytic system.