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Pharmacological manipulation of gastric juice: thrombelastographic assessment and implications for treatment of gastrointestinal haemorrhage.
  1. S E Patchett,
  2. D P O'Donoghue
  1. Gastroenterology and Liver Unit, St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin.


    The impairment of formation and maintenance of a formed fibrin clot contributes to the prolonged bleeding and high incidence of rebleeding in upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage. To investigate the basis for the use of drug therapy in gastric bleeding, this study used thrombelastography to determine the effects of pharmacological manipulation of gastric juice on coagulation and fibrinolysis. The thrombelastograph is a mechanical device that provides a visual assessment of all stages of coagulation and fibrinolysis. The effects of fresh and pharmacologically changed gastric juice was assessed after its addition to fresh whole blood in the thrombelastograph cuvette. Pharmacological manipulation was achieved through alkalisation or through addition of tranexamic acid, aprotinin, or sucralfate. Fresh gastric juice delayed clot formation, decreased maximum clot amplitude, and stimulated clot lysis. Alkalisation inhibited the lytic effects of fresh gastric juice and improved the induced abnormalities in coagulation. Tranexamic acid partially inhibited gastric juice induced clot lysis but did not exhibit a beneficial effect on coagulation. Sucralfate, and to a lesser extent aprotinin significantly inhibited fibrinolysis but exacerbated the detrimental effect of gastric juice on the parameters of coagulation. Alkalisation of gastric juice reduces the adverse effect on coagulation and fibrinolysis. Tranexamic acid, aprotinin, and sucralfate can all reduce or inhibit clot lysis, but the adverse effects on clot formation may outweigh any potential benefit in the treatment of gastrointestinal bleeding.

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