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BACKGROUND: Fibrin deposition is a hallmark of pneumonia. To determine the kinetics of alterations in local coagulation and fibrinolysis in relation to ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP), a single centre prospective study of serial changes in pulmonary and systemic thrombin generation and fibrinolytic activity was conducted in patients at risk for VAP. METHODS: Non-directed bronchial lavage (NBL) was performed on alternate days in patients expected to require mechanical ventilation for more than 5 days. A total of 28 patients were studied, nine of whom developed VAP. RESULTS: In patients who developed VAP a significant increase in thrombin generation was observed in the airways, as reflected by a rise in the levels of thrombin-antithrombin complexes in NBL fluid accompanied by increases in soluble tissue factor and factor VIIa concentrations. The diagnosis of VAP was preceded by a decrease in fibrinolytic activity in NBL fluid. Indeed, before VAP was diagnosed clinically, plasminogen activator activity levels in NBL fluid gradually declined, which appeared to be caused by a sharp increase in NBL fluid levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor 1. CONCLUSION: VAP is characterised by a shift in the local haemostatic balance to the procoagulant side, which precedes the clinical diagnosis of VAP.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





130 - 135


Blood Coagulation, Female, Fibrin, Fibrinolysis, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Pneumonia, Prospective Studies, Respiration, Artificial