Utility of thromboelastography to guide blood product transfusion in surgical settings.

Selby R. “TEG talk”: expanding clinical roles for thromboelastography and rotational thromboelastometry. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2020 Dec 4;2020(1): 67-75.

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“Viscoelastic assays (VEAs) that include thromboelastography and rotational thromboelastometry add value to the investigation of coagulopathies and goal-directed management of bleeding by providing a complete picture of clot formation, strength, and lysis in whole blood that includes the contribution of platelets, fibrinogen, and coagulation factors. Conventional coagulation assays have several limitations, such as their lack of correlation with bleeding and hypercoagulability; their inability to reflect the contribution of platelets, factor XIII, and plasmin during clot formation and lysis; and their slow turnaround times. VEA-guided transfusion algorithms may reduce allogeneic blood exposure during and after cardiac surgery and in the emergency management of trauma-induced coagulopathy and hemorrhage. However, the popularity of VEAs for other indications is driven largely by extrapolation of evidence from cardiac surgery, by the drawbacks of conventional coagulation assays, and by institution-specific preferences. Robust diagnostic studies validating and standardizing diagnostic cutoffs for VEA parameters and randomized trials comparing VEA-guided algorithms with standard care on clinical outcomes are urgently needed. Lack of such studies represents the biggest barrier to defining the role and impact of VEA in clinical care.”


Bugaev N, Como JJ, Golani G, et al. Thromboelastography and rotational thromboelastometry in bleeding patients with coagulopathy: Practice management guideline from the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2020 Dec;89(6):999-1017.

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Results: Using TEG/ROTEM-guided blood transfusions in acutely bleeding trauma, surgical, and critically ill patients was associated with a tendency to fewer blood product transfusions in all populations. Thromboelastography/ROTEM-guided transfusions were associated with a reduced number of additional invasive hemostatic interventions (angioembolic, endoscopic, or surgical) in surgical patients. Thromboelastography/ROTEM-guided transfusions were associated with a reduction in mortality in trauma patients.

Conclusion: In patients with ongoing hemorrhage and concern for coagulopathy, we conditionally recommend using TEG/ROTEM-guided transfusions, compared with traditional coagulation parameters, to guide blood component transfusions in each of the following three groups: adult trauma patients, adult surgical patients, and adult patients with critical illness.


Drumheller BC, et al. Thromboelastography and rotational thromboelastometry for the surgical intensivist: A narrative review. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2019 Apr;86(4):710-721.

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Results: Of 2,589 identified articles, 36 were included. Five (14%) were interventional studies and 31 (86%) were observational. Twenty-five (69%) evaluated TEG, 11 (31%) ROTEM and 18 (50%) CCTs. Investigated outcomes included quantitative blood loss (13 (36%)), blood product transfusion (9 (25%)), thromboembolic events (9 (25%)) and mortality (6 (17%)). We identified 12 clinical scenarios with sufficient available evidence, much of which was of limited quantity and poor methodological quality. Nonetheless, research supports the use of VETs for guiding early blood product administration in severe traumatic hemorrhage and for the prediction of abstract excess bleeding following routine cardiac surgery. In contrast, evidence suggests VET-based heparin dosing strategies for venous thromboembolism prophylaxis are not superior to standard dosing in SICU patients.

Conclusion: While VETs have the potential to impact the care of critically ill surgical patients in many ways, current evidence for their use is limited, mainly because of poor methodological quality of most available studies. Further high-quality research, including several ongoing randomized controlled trials, is needed to elucidate the role of TEG/ROTEM in the SICU population.


More PubMed results on VETs, specifically TEG and ROTEM.

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