Intraindividual variability of fibrinogen levels and cardiovascular risk profile

Robert S. Rosenson, Christine C. Tangney, Joanne M. Hafner

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Prospective population studies have established that fibrinogen is an independent predictor for ischemic heart disease and stroke. These study conclusions have prompted recommendations that fibrinogen determinations be included in the cardiovascular risk profile. The routine availability of fibrinogen measurements may result in widespread screening prior to establishing the validity of a single fibrinogen level as an accurate descriptor for individual subjects. The objectives of this study were to describe the methodological and intraindividual components of variability in fibrinogen measurements determined by using the Clauss method; to establish the usefulness of a single fibrinogen measurement on risk stratification and retest reproducibility; and to determine the influence of intraindividual fibrinogen variability on sample size estimates. Fibrinogen levels were measured by a modification of the Clauss method. Three cohorts of apparently healthy, nonsmoking volunteers were recruited. The single-day intraindividual component of fibrinogen variability was determined in 39 subjects. For the 5-day intraindividual component of fibrinogen variability, 32 subjects were recruited, and in the 6-week intraindividual study, 28 subjects were included. The coefficient of variation for the methodological component of fibrinogen variability was 5.8% as determined from batch analyses, but the intraindividual coefficient of variation for replicate measures on a single day was 10.7%. The 5-day intraindividual coefficient of variation was 14.2%, and for the 6-week period it was 17.8%. Based on the 6-week data, an average of four fibrinogen measures is required to reduce misclassification error to less than 10%. Sample size estimates were made based on predetermined levels of statistical power and the 6-week intraindividual and interindividual variability estimates. The ability to stratify an individual patient based on a single measurement of fibrinogen is limited by methodological and intraindividual components of variability. Clinical studies reporting the influence of specific therapeutic interventions on fibrinogen concentrations must account not only for interindividual variability but for methodological and in-traindividual components of variability as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1928-1932
Number of pages5
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Clauss method
  • Fibrinogen
  • Risk stratification


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