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BACKGROUND: Viscoelastic hemostatic assays such as rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM®) are used to guide treatment of trauma induced coagulopathy. We hypothesized that ROTEM derangements reflect specific coagulation factor deficiencies after trauma. METHODS: Secondary analysis of a prospective cohort study in six European trauma centers in patients presenting with full trauma team activation. Patients with dilutional coagulopathy and patients on anticoagulants were excluded. Blood was drawn on arrival for measurement of ROTEM®, coagulation factor levels and markers of fibrinolysis. ROTEM® cut-off values to define hypocoagulability were: EXTEM clotting time (CT) >80s, EXTEM clot amplitude after 5 minutes (CA5) <40mm, EXTEM lysis at 30 minutes (Li30) <85%, FIBTEM clot amplitude after 5 minutes (CA5) <10mm and FIBTEM lysis at 30 minutes (Li30) <85%. Based on these, patients were divided into 7 deranged ROTEM® profiles and compared to the reference group (ROTEM® values within reference range). The primary endpoint was coagulation factors levels and fibrinolysis. RESULTS: Of 1828 patients, 40% had ROTEM® derangements 40.0%, most often consisting of a combined decrease in EXTEM and FIBTEM CA5, that was present in 217 (11.9%) patients. While an isolated EXTEM CT>80s had no impact on mortality, all other ROTEM® derangements were associated with increased mortality. Also, coagulation factor levels in this group were similar to patients with a normal ROTEM®. Of coagulation factors, decrease was most apparent for fibrinogen (with a nadir of 0.78 g/L) and for factor V levels (with a nadir of 22.8%). In addition, increased fibrinolysis can be present when LI30 is normal but EXTEM and FIBTEM CA5 is decreased. CONCLUSION: Coagulation factor levels and mortality in the group with an isolated clotting time prolongation is similar to patients with a normal ROTEM ®. Other ROTEM ® derangements are associated with mortality and reflect a depletion of fibrinogen and factor V. Increased fibrinolysis can be present when lysis after 30 minutes is normal.

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