The British Journal of Surgery for March 1974 contained two noteworthy reports on thromboembolism. Gordon-Smith et al1 have put to clinical use a test for fibrinolytic activity that measures the amount of isotope liberated in three hours from a clot that they tagged by first injecting the patient with 125I-fibrinogen. This method gives a more accurate figure for fibrin digested than tests measuring the time necessary to achieve a given amount of lysis. It has importance in postoperative measurement since the higher levels of fibrinogen normally present at that time can obscure the other types of tests.
The authors found agreement with the observation of others of increased activity during operation, but did not confirm a substantial decrease in fibrinolytic activity in the subsequent early postoperative days that could be appreciated by conventional statistical methods. When they looked more closely at the first postoperative day by special statistical