Use of viscoelastic point-of-care (POC) coagulation instrumentation is relatively new to veterinary medicine. In human medicine, this technology has recently undergone resurgence owing to its capacity to detect hypercoagulability. The lack of sensitive tests for detecting hypercoagulable states, along with our current understanding of in vivo coagulation, highlights the deficiencies of standard coagulation tests, such as prothrombin and partial thromboplastin times, which are performed on platelet-poor plasma. Viscoelastic coagulation analyzers can provide an assessment of global coagulation, from the beginning of clot formation to fibrinolysis, utilizing whole blood. In people, use of this technology has been reported to improve management of hemostasis during surgery and decrease usage of blood products and is being used as a rapid screen for hypercoagulability. In veterinary medicine, clinical use of viscoelastic technology has been reported in dogs, cats, foals, and adult horses. This article will provide an overview of the technology, reagents and assays, applications in human and veterinary medicine, and limitations of the 3 viscoelastic POC analyzers in clinical use.
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