An Introduction to the Fundamentals of Coagulation

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Fundamentals of Hemostasis. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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An Introduction to the Fundamentals of Coagulation

  • The ability to control bleeding hinges primarily on the availability of both platelets and coagulation factors, as well as their adequate functionality.

  • It is important to note, however, that there are limits in the size, or the degree of damage that can be controlled and repaired without outside (medical) intervention.

  • As one may expect, and the prior chart illustrates, damage to a larger vessel yields a more substantial bleed, and in turn consumes a greater quantity of coagulation components.

  • These variables can radically alter the effectiveness of hemostatic control mechanisms.
  • As we will discover later in the course, there are other variables which impact the effectiveness of hemostatic mechanisms as well, such as acquired disease states, and inborn metabolic pathway defects.

  • For now, however, our focus will be on the mechanisms, processes, and components which work together to achieve coagulation, or the cessation of blood flow from a damaged vessel.

  • Note: Despite the fact that the word hemostasis refers to not just the coagulation mechanism, but also to the function and interaction with the vascular and extravascular systems and platelets, the terms hemostasis and coagulation are commonly used interchangeably, and can be seen in this course.