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BACKGROUND: Microvesicles (MV) have been implicated in the development of thrombotic disease, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and multiple organ failure (MOF). Trauma patients are at increased risk of late thrombotic events, particularly those who receive a major transfusion. The aims of this study were: (a) to determine whether there were increased numbers of pro-coagulant MV following injury; (b) to determine their cellular origin; and (c) to explore the effects of MV with clinical outcomes; in particular red cell transfusion requirements and death. METHODS: Trauma patients were recruited at a Level 1 trauma centre. The presence of MV procoagulant phospholipid (PPL) was assessed using 2 activity assays (PPL and thrombin generation). Enumeration and MV cellular origin was assessed using 2 colour flow cytometry. RESULTS: Fifty consecutive patients were recruited; median age 38 (IQR: 24-55), median ISS 18 (IQR: 9-27). Circulating procoagulant MV, rich in phospholipid, were significantly elevated following traumatic injury relative to controls and remained elevated at 72 h post-injury. Red cell/AnnV+ and platelet/AnnV+ MV numbers were 6-fold and 2-fold higher than controls, respectively. Patients who died (n=9, 18%) had significantly fewer CD41/AnnV+ MV and lower endogenous thrombin potential relative to patients who survived. CONCLUSIONS: MV are elevated following traumatic injury and may be implicated in the increased risk of trauma patients to pro-thrombotic states such as MOF and ARDS. Lower levels of procoagulant MV are associated with mortality and further investigation of this association is warranted.

Original publication




Journal article


J Extracell Vesicles

Publication Date





flow cytometry, microvesicles, thrombin generation, trauma