Fibrinolysis and the risk of venous and arterial thrombosis

Mirjam E. Meltzer, Carine J.M. Doggen, Philip G. de Groot, Frits R. Rosendaal, Ton Lisman (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of review: The fibrinolytic system is often regarded as just an innocent bystander in the pathogenesis of venous and arterial thrombosis, while (hyper)coagulation as a risk factor has been studied extensively. In this review, we evaluated studies that investigated the association between fibrinolysis and thrombosis.

Recent findings: There is some evidence for an association between impaired overall fibrinolytic activity and increased risk of venous or arterial thrombosis. Plasminogen levels were found not to be related to thrombosis. Plasma levels of tissue-type plasminogen activator were related to arterial thrombosis in a number of studies but not to venous thrombosis. Thrombin activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor levels appeared to be associated with venous thrombosis. Studies on the association between thrombin activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor or plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and arterial thrombosis had conflicting results.

Summary: Current evidence on an association between fibrinolysis and thrombosis is inconclusive. Although overall assays point to an association, not all individual factors have an association with thrombosis. Most importantly, plasminogen deficiency is not related to thrombosis, which suggests that the fibrinolytic system as a whole is unimportant in the occurrence of thrombosis. Certain components of the fibrinolytic system, however, appear to be involved in processes unrelated to fibrin degradation but related to other processes important in the development of thrombosis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-248
JournalCurrent opinion in hematology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Arterial thrombosis
  • Ffibrinolysis
  • Venous thrombosis
  • Risk factors


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