Determination of fibrinogen level
Fibrinogen plays an essential role in the coagulation process. Thrombin (an enzyme present in the blood) converts fibrinogen to form fibrin fibres, which form a fibrin scaffold. The fibrin scaffold, together with the adherent platelets, forms a blood clot to prevent further blood loss.
What is the purpose of the test?
The test helps determine if the level of fibrinogen is adequate to promote normal blood clotting. Hereditary fibrinogen deficiency, abnormal composition and function of the fibrinogen molecule, and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) can all be diagnosed with the test.
Disseminated intravascular coagulation is a severe, often life-threatening condition associated with abnormal activation of the blood coagulation system within the vascular system.
The clotting system works properly if the clot is formed solely at the site of injury. If the activation of the coagulation system is excessive, the formation of clots in the vascular system is scattered (in several places), which can lead to abnormal clotting, sometimes bleeding or organ damage.
In which cases is it recommended to perform the test?
In case of prolonged bleeding of unknown origin, and if the patient’s close relative has a hereditary fibrinogen deficiency, or to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease.
What sample is needed for the test?
A blood sample taken from a vein is required to perform the test.
What can the result indicate?
Decreased fibrinogen levels can damage the body’s blood clotting system. Chronically low fibrinogen levels can occur when there is no production for genetic reasons (afibrinogenemia) or when the patient is malnourished or has liver disease. Acutely low fibrinogen levels can be observed in disseminated intravascular coagulation and some cancers.
Elevated fibrinogen levels are usually present in the patient’s body on a temporary basis. It can occur in acute infections, infarction, stroke, trauma, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic DIC, certain tumours, and coronary heart diseases.
What to do after the test?
In all cases, please consult the specialist who ordered the test or a doctor with experience in coagulation disorders.