On a theoretical basis, delayed fibrinolysis has always been assumed to allow a harmless, or rather, useful clotting process to develop into manifest thrombosis. Since the early sixties, when most modern concepts on fibrinolysis were postulated, the evidence for a causal relationship between impaired fibrinolysis and venous thrombosis has not become much stronger. On the other hand, several observations indicate an association between impaired fibrinolysis and arterial thrombosis. Recent years have witnessed a flare-up of interest in fibrinolytic therapy, especially of acute coronary artery thrombosis, and thanks to the availability of human tissue-type plasminogen activator, expansion of its field of application is to be expected. However, with drugs for maintenance enhancement of fibrinolysis still being out of reach, we rely on the well-established oral anticoagulant regimen for the prophylaxis of thrombosis in patients with an obvious thrombotic disposition.

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