Essence of this Article

Haemostasis is the normal physiological response that prevents significant blood loss following vascular injury. The process depends on an intricate series of events involving platelets, other cells and the activation of specific blood proteins, known as coagulation factors. When blood vessel injury occurs, physiological haemostasis is triggered and the coagulation process occurs. Haemostasis serves to maintain the integrity of the circulatory system; however the process can become imbalanced, leading to significant morbidity and mortality. Knowledge of the process of haemostasis is therefore important in order to understand the major disease states associated with thrombosis.

Haemostasis

haemostasis fibrinolysis clot formation

Haemostasis schematic

Haemostasis or normal thrombus formation is essential for survival

Haemostasis depends on an intricate series of events involving platelets, other cells and the activation of specific blood proteins, known as coagulation factors.19

Haemostasis is the normal physiological response that prevents significant blood loss following vascular injury.19 Knowledge of the process of haemostasis is important in order to understand the major disease states associated with thrombosis, such as:

  • Venous thromboembolism (VTE)
  • Atherothrombosis (thrombosis triggered by plaque rupture)
  • Cardioembolic stroke

When blood vessel injury occurs, physiological haemostasis is triggered and the following sequence of events take place:

  • The vessel constricts to reduce blood flow
  • Circulating platelets adhere to the vessel wall at the site of trauma
  • Platelets are activated and aggregate
  • An intricate series of enzymatic reactions occur involving coagulation proteins
  • Fibrin is produced to form a stable haemostatic plug

Haemostasis is a finely tuned process. It serves to maintain the integrity of the circulatory system.20 However, the process can become imbalanced, leading to significant morbidity and mortality.21

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