Endogenous tPA is cleared by the liver and therefore circulating levels of tPA are elevated in patients with cirrhosis. This is the main reason that these patients bleed. Phrased another way, the main hemostatic defect in liver disease is not thrombin generation (defective production of procoagulant clotting factors) but rather accelerated clot lysis. Therefore, an antifibrinolytic treatment (like amiocaproic acid) that inhibits the binding of fibrinolytic molecules (plasmin, plasminogen) to fibrin and thus helps prevent breakdown of existing clots is an elegant and effective way to treat bleeding in cirrhosis. A reduced dose should be given in patients with renal dysfunction and it should be noted that this drug has been associated with AKI in some patients due to urinary tract obstruction and ATN.
Posted by Rebecca Karp Leaf MD and Walter Dzik MD.