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Fibrinogen Blood Test: Functions and Results

Fibrinogen Blood Test: Functions and Results

The blood fibrinogen level is directly related to the coagulation process; nevertheless, alterations in values could also be related to disease.

The fibrinogen blood test is used to determine the degrees of this substance that is said to clotting.

The conventional level ought to be between 200 and 400 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) of blood. Nonetheless, this varies somewhat with the person’s age. Actually, in children under the age of 5, it’s often a bit lower.

Nonetheless, the test results can show whether there’s a deficiency or, conversely, high levels of fibrinogen within the blood. In turn, this increase or decrease is said to numerous aspects, corresponding to disease, pregnancy, menopause, drug use, amongst others.

What’s fibrinogen and what’s its function?

There has at all times been great interest in understanding coagulation. In precedent days it was thought that this process was resulting from solidification by cooling. It was at the start of the twentieth century, with the publication of a study by Paul Morawitz, that research on the topic was refocused.

Fibrinogen or Factor I is a protein synthesized within the liver that’s incorporated into the blood plasma. It is an element of the group of coagulation aspects, together with prothrombin, calcium, and tissue factor, amongst others. There are 13 in total.

It’s one in all the weather chargeable for stopping bleeding when there’s a wound or hemorrhage. This complex process is referred to as “hemostasis” or the “coagulation cascade”.

During this process, thrombin helps convert fibrinogen into fibrin, which functions as a cement and forms a mesh or network. In turn, platelets stick together – like bricks – to supply a clot that plugs the wound.

In the other process, which is fibrinolysis, fibrin prompts an enzyme that degrades clots (called plasmin) and fibrinogen inhibits it. This ensures that every thing happens in a really perfect way; clots are broken down after they’re not required and aren’t formed unnecessarily.

As some people know, clots might be harmful; in the event that they block blood vessels, they might cause a heart attack or stroke. Due to this fact, the balance between blood fibrinogen and fibrin is paramount.

As well as, fibrinogen is believed to bind and activate white blood cells, thus playing a vital role within the immune response to infection or injury.

Some recent findings seem to verify this. For instance, in an investigation of patients with sepsis, rapid recovery, and lower mortality were correlated with increased fibrinogen.

One other laboratory study in mice with acetaminophen-induced liver damage found that fibrinogen may also help repair the liver by activating white blood cells.

Fibrinogen is an element of the clotting aspects.

All in regards to the fibrinogen blood test

The fibrinogen blood test is performed to estimate how the clotting process is working. It’s often suggested to be performed after fasting for as much as 12 hours. Even when no special preparations are required, the physician may recommend stopping any medications beforehand, especially anticoagulants.

To perform the test, a serum sample is drawn directly from the vein (either cubital or cephalic) with a syringe. The needle is withdrawn when sufficient blood has been withdrawn (roughly 2 cubic centimeters).

A typical amount of thrombin is then added to the sample and the time it takes for the fibrin clot to form is measured. This enables the quantity, but not the activity, of fibrinogen within the blood to be determined.

This time is directly proportional to the quantity of energetic fibrinogen within the sample. Due to this fact, prolonged clot formation times could also be resulting from decreased fibrinogen concentrations or fibrinogen dysfunction.

Risks of the test

Obtaining a blood sample could also be tougher in some people than in others. Nonetheless, the fibrinogen blood test is an easy, quick, and protected process; there aren’t any major risks or negative effects. Chances are you’ll experience only mild pain with the prick and bruising after the prick. These symptoms disappear after a short while (one or two days).

When to do a fibrinogen blood test?

The physician may ask for a fibrinogen blood test, alone or as a part of a series of tests, when there are abnormal bleeding or clotting situations. Amongst other circumstances, the choice is taken into account in any of the next:

  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Abundant menstrual bleeding
  • Presence of blood within the urine or stool
  • Abnormal bleeding from the gums
  • Gastrointestinal tract bleeding
  • Bruising for no apparent reason
  • Rupture of the spleen
  • Thrombosis
  • Abnormal prothrombin or partial thromboplastin test results
  • Symptoms of disseminated intravascular coagulation
  • Abnormal fibrinolysis
  • Inherited or acquired dysfunction related to coagulation

Then again, the fibrinogen blood test allows us to know if the decrease within the activity of this protein is resulting from an insufficient amount or to a dysfunction; it also serves to watch the clotting capability over time.

Together with other tests, it also helps to evaluate the chance of developing heart problems, peripheral arterial disease, or myocardial infarction.

What do the outcomes mean?

The expected level of fibrinogen within the blood is 200 to 400 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl), but this may occasionally vary somewhat with age. Actually, in children under five years of age it’s lower, 160 to 400 mg/dl. And in newborns or infants under the age of 1, it ranges from 80 to 90 to 375 or 385 mg/dl.

When the outcomes aren’t inside this range, they’re considered to be higher or lower than expected. Let’s have a look at each individually.

High levels

On this case, you may have the next reference scale (in adults):

  • 400 – 600 mg/dl (barely high): could also be resulting from circumstantial aspects. A brand new test ought to be performed after just a few weeks to see if the values return to normal.
  • 600 – 700 mg (moderately high): it’s advisable to seek the advice of a health care provider. If blood pressure can also be high, the chance of stroke is increased.
  • Greater than 700 mg/dl (excessively high): high likelihood of blood clots forming and damaging the center or brain.

Low levels

There are three sorts of blood fibrinogen deficiency:

  • Afibrinogenemia or total absence of fibrinogen: rare (affects one person in 2 million). Even though it doesn’t necessarily cause bleeding, when there’s bleeding it’s severe.
  • Hypofibrinogenemia: low fibrinogen levels, below 200 mg/dl. It’s related to mild bleeding.
  • Dysfibrinogenemia: blood levels are normal, but fibrinogen doesn’t function properly. It could be congenital or acquired and affects one person in one million. It causes bleeding and thrombosis.

Why do fibrinogen blood levels change?

The alteration of factor I could also be temporary. On this case, the possible related aspects include pregnancy (which ends up in a rise), menstruation, bleeding, a blood transfusion, or reactions to drugs.

Among the many drugs that alter the degrees of this protein, we will mention the next:

  • Oral contraceptives
  • Estrogens
  • Steroids
  • Antituberculosis drugs
  • Anti-androgens
  • Aspirin
  • Warfarin
  • Various cholesterol-lowering drugs

Then again, low fibrinogen blood levels might be attributable to aspects corresponding to menopause or smoking, in addition to by other conditions, whether hereditary or acquired. Among the many latter are the next:

  • Tumors
  • Severe malnutrition
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Inflammatory disorders (corresponding to rheumatoid arthritis)
  • End-stage liver disease

Nonetheless, the modified values reflected within the test aren’t often used to offer relevant diagnostic information about any condition or disease.

Blood fibrinogen is altered by various conditions and pathologies. Due to this fact, if blood fibrinogen levels are altered, the physician will suggest complementary tests.

Associated disorders

Maintaining altered fibrinogen values ought to be monitored, as it could increase the chance of developing various diseases. If levels are low and bleeding in wounds doesn’t stop or takes too long, the possibilities of infection increase.

Conversely, high levels promote blood clotting, even when it isn’t vital. In consequence, cardiovascular problems are more likely, as thrombi form, which might result in heart attacks or strokes.

Normalization of fibrinogen levels

When the rise in fibrinogen is resulting from pregnancy or is attributable to an inflammatory process, levels will return to normal once the underlying problem is resolved. Nonetheless, in certain cases treatment is required.

For instance, depending on the explanation for the issue, bezafibrate or alternative therapy with blood product substitutes could also be prescribed.

If there’s a risk of heart problems, lifestyle changes are really useful, corresponding to a weight-reduction plan wealthy in omega-3, physical exertion, and giving up smoking and alcohol.

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