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Fibrin Split Products

Overview :

Coagulation begins typically with an injury to some part of the body. The injury sets in motion a cascade of biochemical activities (the coagulation cascade) to stop the bleeding, by forming a clot from a mixture of the blood protein fibrin and platelets.

Once bleeding is stopped, another blood protein dissolves the clot by breaking down the fibrin into fragments. Measurement of these fragments gives information about the clot dissolving portion of coagulation, called fibrinolysis.

In DIC, the coagulation cascade is triggered in an abnormal way. A blood infection, a transfusion reaction, a large amount of tissue damage, such as a burn, a dead fetus, and some cancers can begin the chain of biochemical events leading to blood clots. The coagulation cascade becomes overwhelmed with excessive clotting followed by excessive bleeding. As the large number of clots dissolve, fibrin split products accumulate in the blood and encourage even more bleeding.

Laboratory tests for FSP are done on the yellow liquid portion left over after blood clots (serum). A person's serum is mixed with a substance that binds to FSP. This bound complex is measured, and the original amount of FSP is determined. Some test methods give an actual measurement of FSP; some give a titer, or dilution. Methods that provide a titer look for the presence or absence of FSP. If the serum is positive for FSP, the serum is diluted, or titered, and the test is done again. These steps are repeated until the serum is so dilute that it no longer gives a positive result. The last dilution that gives a positive result is the titer reported.

The FSP test is covered by insurance when medically necessary. Results are usually available within one to two hours. Other names for this test are fibrin degradation products, fibrin breakdown products, or FDP.

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