Neuroendocrine stress hormones do not recreate the postoperative hypercoagulable state

Brian A. Rosenfeld, Ngoc Diep Nguyen, Ik Sung, Nauder Faraday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Surgery causes changes in hemostasis, leading to a hypercoagulable state that has been linked to both arterial and venous thrombotic complications. The etiology of this state is unknown, but many investigators have hypothesized that perioperative neuroendocrine changes are responsible. We have previously demonstrated minimal increases in hemostatic function with a stress hormone infusion. This study was undertaken to further examine the relationship between neuroendocrine hormones and hemostatic function. Seventeen healthy volunteers were administered a stress hormone cocktail IV (epinephrine, cortisol, glucagon, angiotensin II, and vasopressin) for 24 h in a blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over design in our clinical research center. Venous blood samples were obtained for measurement of hemostatic function before the infusion and at 2, 8, and 24 h. There were no demonstrable increases in any measure of hypercoagulability. Alternatively, there was an increase in tissue plasminogen activator and protein C activity. These changes are consistent with an inhibition of coagulation and improved fibrinolysis. These data suggest that this combination of neuroendocrine hormones is not responsible for the postoperative hypercoagulable state. Implications: Infusion of five stress hormones (epinephrine, cortisol, glucagon, vasopressin, and angiotensin II) to normal volunteers does not cause increases in procoagulant proteins and platelet reactivity or decreases in fibrinolytic proteins. Alternatively, these five hormones caused increased levels of fibrinolytic proteins (tissue plasminogen activator) and endogenous anticoagulants (protein C antigen and activity).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)640-645
Number of pages6
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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