Thromboelastometry is a viscoelastometric method for hemostasis testing in whole blood. TEM® measures the interactions of coagulation factors, inhibitors and cellular components during the phases of clotting and subsequent lysis over time. The rheological conditions of this method mimic the sluggish flow of blood in veins. TEM® is performed on the ROTEM® system, an enhancement of the traditional thromboelastography method, developed by Hartert in 1948.
A whole blood sample is placed into a cuvette and a cylindrical pin is immersed. Between the pin and cuvette remains a gap of 1 mm, bridged by the blood. The pin is rotated by a spring to the right and the left. As long as the blood is liquid, the movement is unrestricted. When blood starts clotting, the clot increasingly restricts the rotation of the pin with rising clot firmness. This kinetic change is detected mechanically and calculated by an integrated computer to the typical curves (TEMogram) and numerical parameters.
The traditional thromboelastograph by Hartert works with a free-pending pin in a rotating cuvette. The clotting process is detected via a torsion wire. Due to the free suspension of the pin, this traditional method, according to Hartert, is extremely sensitive to vibrations and mechanical shocks. This flaw is overcome in the ROTEM® system by using a rotating pin, fixed on a steel axis which is stabilized by a unique ball bearing and the precise optical detection method. This technology enhancement, combined with automated pipette, touch screen operation and intuitive user-friendly software in ROTEM® has optimized the TEM® for use in hospitals across North America.