Coagulation testing is performed to determine if a person has a level of coagulation activity that is sufficient to control the blood clotting process. The level of the clotting function may be low or absent and due to either acquired or inherited deficiencies, resulting in an impaired clotting ability. The levels of the factors may also be too high, causing too much clot formation and thrombosis.

Automated coagulation analyzers have made coagulation testing fast and efficient. Full automation reduces the risks of manual errors, streamlining lab operations, enhancing workflow and minimizing turnaround time. Plasma is separated from the blood sample by centrifugation and bovine thrombin is added. The coagulation analyzer then detects clot formation optically or mechanically.

The Instrumentation Laboratory ACL™ automatic coagulation analyzer from Beckman Coulter detects the formation of a fibrin clot by measuring the change in light scatter as a function of time. The instrument reports results with the help of the optical reading from the Thermo Scientific Pacific Hemostasis Reference Emulsion Fluid. This priming solution provides the optical reference for coagulation testing.

A fixed amount of Reference Emulsion is automatically placed by the analyzer into one cuvette well and this is used to normalize the light scatter from the other cuvettes with the blood samples. The solution, which contains silicone oil emulsion, antifoam, and sodium azide in water, functions as an optical blank. Turbidity is carefully adjusted to ensure optimal performance. However, it is important to follow manufacturer guidelines for instruments and reagents as final results depend on variables such as temperature, reagent stability, instrument performance, and technique used.