The liver is the main site of synthesis and/or clearance of proteins involved in fibrinolysis. Therefore, chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, leads to altered plasma levels of fibrinolytic proteins. Historical studies using in vitro clot lysis assays suggested that patients with chronic liver disease had accelerated fibrinolysis. Subsequent studies measured levels of individual pro- and antifibrinolytic proteins and showed that levels of tissue-type plasminogen activator are elevated. Plasma levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 may also be altered, which leads to a shift in balance in the fibrinolytic system. Despite the fact that a more recent study using a plasma clot lysis assay challenged the existence of hyperfibrinolysis, other recent studies detected hyperfibrinolysis in a considerable number of patients with cirrhosis. Therefore, it is now recognized that hyperfibrinolysis may occur in 30 to 50% of patients with end-stage liver disease. A causal role of hyperfibrinolysis in bleeding is difficult to establish because also other concomitant changes in hemostasis occur. Treatment of hyperfibrinolysis consists of the use of fibrinolysis inhibitors, such as tranexamic acid. In this review we summarize current insights of the role of the liver in fibrinolysis, changes in fibrinolytic proteins, the potential clinical implications, and management of hyperfibrinolysis in liver disease.

, , , , ,,
Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis
Department of Hematology

Leebeek, F.W.G, & Rijken, D.C. (2015). The Fibrinolytic Status in Liver Diseases. Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis, 41(5), 474–480. doi:10.1055/s-0035-1550437