Endogenous Fibrinolysis: An Important Mediator of Thrombus Formation and Cardiovascular Risk

Osita N Okafor, Diana A Gorog

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


Most acute cardiovascular events are attributable to arterial thrombosis. Plaque rupture or erosion stimulates platelet activation, aggregation, and thrombosis, whilst simultaneously activating enzymatic processes that mediate endogenous fibrinolysis to physiologically maintain vessel patency. Interplay between these pathways determines clinical outcome. If proaggregatory factors predominate, the thrombus may propagate, leading to vessel occlusion. However, if balanced by a healthy fibrinolytic system, thrombosis may not occur or cause lasting occlusion. Despite abundant evidence for the fibrinolytic system regulating thrombosis, it has been overlooked compared with platelet reactivity, partly due to a lack of techniques to measure it. We evaluate evidence for endogenous fibrinolysis in arterial thrombosis and review techniques to assess it, including biomarkers and global assays, such as thromboelastography and the Global Thrombosis Test. Global assays, simultaneously assessing proaggregatory and fibrinolytic pathways, could play a role in risk stratification and in identifying impaired fibrinolysis as a potential target for pharmacological modulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1683-1699
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number16
Early online date20 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2015


  • Acute Coronary Syndrome
  • Biomarkers
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Fibrinolysis
  • Humans
  • Thrombelastography
  • Thrombosis
  • Journal Article
  • Review


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