Heparin Antibodies Don't Affect Safety of Cardiac Catheterization

Clinically significant thrombotic complications are rare and unrelated to antibody status

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Although a significant proportion of people undergoing cardiac catheterization develop anti-platelet factor 4 (PF4)/heparin antibodies as a result of small exposure during the catheterization procedure, antibody status does not correlated with thrombotic complications, according to study findings published in the August issue of the American Heart Journal.

Shi Yin Foo, M.D., Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted a prospective study of 500 patients treated with cardiac catheterization, of whom 15 (3 percent) had anti-PF4/heparin antibodies prior to the procedure. This group of patients had a higher likelihood of prior coronary disease (73.3 percent versus 45.2 percent for those who tested negative for the antibodies).

After the procedure was performed, 10.1 percent of the subjects had anti-PF4/heparin antibodies. Those who tested positive after catheterization had a lower platelet count at the time of the procedure versus those who subsequently tested negative. Overall rates of thrombotic complications was low at four out of 445, a rate of 0.9 percent and were uncorrelated with antibody status.

"Our study suggests than an exposure to increased dosages of heparin, as seen in percutaneous coronary intervention, may increase the anti-PF4/heparin antibody seroconversion rate, although the trend does not appear statistically significant in our single center study. This reinforces the need for clinical judgment in the timely diagnosis of true prothrombotic heparin-induced thrombocytopenia," the authors conclude.

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