A role for the fibrinolytic system in postsurgical adhesion formation

B W J Hellebrekers, J J Emeis, T Kooistra, J B Trimbos, N R Moore, K H Zwinderman, T C M Trimbos-Kemper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To look for evidence of a fibrinolytic insufficiency as a cause of adhesion formation.

Design: Retrospective and prospective study.

Setting: University medical center.

Patient(s): Retrospective study: 50 patients undergoing laparoscopy, divided into patients with and without endometriosis. Prospective study: 18 patients undergoing infertility surgery involving a second look laparoscopy.

Intervention(s): During all surgical procedures, adhesions were scored, and peritoneal fluid and plasma were collected.

Main Outcome Measure(s): Parameters of the fibrinolytic system were measured to establish a possible relation with the presence and formation of adhesions.

Result(s): In patients with endometriosis and adhesions, significantly higher peritoneal fluid concentrations were found for plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), and plasminogen, compared with patients with endometriosis but without adhesions. In the prospective study, initial peritoneal PAI-1 concentrations correlated significantly with the extent of adhesion formation (r(s) = 0.49) and adhesion-improvement scores (r(s) = -0.52). Also, the change in concentration of tPA and fibrinogen from the initial surgical procedure to the second-look laparoscopy correlated significantly with adhesion-improvement scores (DeltatPA: r(s) = 0.50; Deltafibrinogen: r(s) = -0.64).

Conclusion(s): This first prospective study in humans adds further weight to the hypothesis that adhesions are caused by an insufficiency in peritoneal fibrinolytic activity. Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 is a potential marker for the identification of patients at risk for developing adhesions. (C)2005 by American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-129
Number of pages8
JournalFertility and Sterility
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • adhesion formation
  • endometriosis
  • infertility surgery
  • early second-look laparoscopy
  • fibrinolytic system


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