Over the past century, a series of models have been put forth to explain the coagulation mechanism. The coagulation cascade/waterfall model has gained the most widespread acceptance. This model, however, has problems when it is used in different clinical scenarios. A more recently proposed cell-based model better describes the coagulation process in vivo and provides oral health care professionals (OHCPs) with a better understanding of the clinical implications of providing dental care to patients with potentially increased bleeding tendencies.
The authors conducted a literature search using the PubMed database. They searched for key words including "coagulation," "hemostasis," "bleeding," "coagulation factors," "models," "prothrombin time," "activated partial thromboplastin time," "international normalized ratio," "anticoagulation therapy" and "hemophilia" separately and in combination.
The coagulation cascade/waterfall model is insufficient to explain coagulation in vivo, predict a patient's bleeding tendency, or correlate clinical outcomes with specific laboratory screening tests such as prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time and international normalized ratio. However, the cell-based model of coagulation that reflects the in vivo process of coagulation provides insight into the clinical ramifications of treating dental patients with specific coagulation factor deficiencies.
Understanding the in vivo coagulation process will help OHCPs better predict a patient's bleeding tendency. In addition, applying the theoretical concept of the cell-based model of coagulation to commonly used laboratory screening tests for coagulation and bleeding will result in safer and more appropriate dental care.