Clinicians are often challenged in primary practice with patients who present with potential hemostatic disorders. Determining which laboratory tests to order and when to refer a patient to a pediatric hematologist is of vital importance.

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Hemostasis in the pediatric patient evolves as the child grows and matures, and normal adult laboratory values are not often the norm for a child. This article provides a summary of the pathophysiology of hemostasis (eg, bleeding and thrombosis disorders) and reviews the basic principles of history and physical findings to provide the primary care practitioner with the necessary tools for initial evaluation of a pediatric patient with a suspected coagulation disorder. A basic understanding of when to test a patient for a coagulation disorder or make a proper referral to a pediatric hematologist will result in optimal care.

Hemostasis is a complex process that...

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