Development of the human coagulation system in the full-term infant.
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The investigation of many hemostatic defects in the newborn is limited by the lack of normal reference values. This study was designed to determine the postnatal development of the human coagulation system in the healthy full-term infant. Consecutive mothers of healthy full-term infants born at St Joseph's Hospital in the city of Hamilton were approached for consent. One hundred eighteen full-term infants (37 to 42 weeks' gestational age) were entered into the study. Demographic information and a 2-mL blood sample were obtained in the postnatal period on days 1, 5, 30, 90, and 180. Between 40 and 79 full-term infants were studied on each day for each of the coagulation tests. Plasma was fractionated and stored at -70 degrees C for batch assaying of the following tests: prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time, thrombin clotting time, and factor assays (biologic): fibrinogen, II, V, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, and high-molecular weight kininogen. Factor XIII subunits A and S, von Willebrand factor, and the inhibitors antithrombin III, alpha 2-antiplasmin, alpha 2-macroglobulin, alpha 1-antitrypsin, C1 esterase inhibitor, protein C, and protein S were measured immunologically. Plasminogen, prekallikrein, and heparin cofactor II were measured by using chromogenic substrates. The large number of infants studied at each time point allowed us to determine the following: the range of normal for each test at five time points in the postnatal period; that coagulation tests vary with the postnatal age of the infant; that different coagulation factors show different postnatal patterns of maturation; and that near-adult values are achieved for most components by 6 months of life. In summary, this large cohort of infants studied consecutively in the postnatal period allowed us to determine the normal development of the human coagulation system in the full-term infant.
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