Fibrinolysis/euglobulin lysis

Alternative names 
Euglobulin clot lysis; Euglobulin lysis time


This is a test that measures the euglobulin lysis time in blood. The euglobulin lysis time is a measure of the activity of the fibrinolytic (clot-breakdown) system.

How the test is performed

Blood is drawn from a vein (venipuncture), usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The puncture site is cleaned with antiseptic, and a tourniquet (an elastic band) or blood pressure cuff is placed around the upper arm to apply pressure and restrict blood flow through the vein. This causes veins below the tourniquet to distend (fill with blood). A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an airtight vial or a syringe. During the procedure, the tourniquet is removed to restore circulation. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.

Infant or young child:
The area is cleansed with antiseptic and punctured with a sharp needle or a lancet. The blood may be collected in a pipette (small glass tube), on a slide, onto a test strip, or into a small container. Cotton or a bandage may be applied to the puncture site if there is any continued bleeding.

How to prepare for the test

No special preparation is usually necessary.

Infants and children:
The physical and psychological preparation you can provide for this or any test or procedure depends on your child’s age, interests, previous experiences, and level of trust. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics as they correspond to your child’s age:

  • Infant test or procedure preparation (birth to 1 year)  
  • Toddler test or procedure preparation (1 to 3 years)  
  • Preschooler test or procedure preparation (3 to 6 years)  
  • Schoolage test or procedure preparation (6 to 12 years)  
  • Adolescent test or procedure preparation (12 to 18 years)

How the test will feel
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

Why the test is performed
This is one of the best tests to differentiate primary fibrinolysis from DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation). The test can also be used to monitor streptokinase or urokinase therapy in patients with acute MI (heart attack).

The euglobulin lysis test evaluates fibrinolysis (that is, the dissolution of a blood clot). The fibrinolytic system normally breaks down small fibrin deposits. When this system is abnormally overactive, any fibrin clot that is formed will be rapidly dissolved, thereby resulting in a bleeding tendency.

Normal Values
A normal value will range from 90 minutes to 6 hours. Euglobulin clot lysis is normally complete within 2 to 4 hours.

What abnormal results mean
In primary fibrinolysis (for example, caused by streptokinase administration, cancer of the prostate, shock), the euglobulin lysis time is shorter than normal.

In DIC, it is usually normal, but if all the plasmin has been consumed, the time may be prolonged.

  • Decreased fibrinolysis (increased lysis time) may indicate:       o Diabetes       o Prematurity  
  • Increased fibrinolysis (shortened lysis time) may indicate:       o Cirrhosis       o Extensive vascular (blood vessel) trauma or surgery       o Hereditary deficiency of fibrinogen       o Leukemia       o Obstetric complications (for example antepartum hemorrhage, hydatidiform mole, amniotic embolism)       o Prostatic cancer       o Shock       o Thrombocytopenia purpura

Additional conditions under which the test may be performed:

  • Spontaneous abortion  
  • Primary thrombocythemia

What the risks are

  • Excessive bleeding  
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed  
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)  
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)  
  • Multiple punctures to locate veins

Special considerations

  • Increased fibrinolysis (decreased lysis time) may result from vigorous exercise.  
  • Increased fibrinolysis may result from increasing age.  
  • Increased fibrinolysis may result from streptokinase or urokinase administration.  
  • Drugs that may increase fibrinolysis include corticosteroids and ACTH.

Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another, and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 4, 2012
by Amalia K. Gagarina, M.S., R.D.

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