Heparin‐induced thrombocytopenia: an improved method of detection based on lumi‐aggregometry

Michael W. Stewart, Wai S. Etches, Lynn K. Boshkov, Philip A. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Summary Heparin‐induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is a recognized complication of heparin administration. Early detection of this syndrome is essential in the prevention of immune‐mediated thromboembolic sequelae. The 14C‐sero‐tonin release assay (SRA) has been used in reference laboratories to identify sera from patients on heparin therapy capable of inducing platelet dense granule release. In an attempt to improve existing methodologies, we employed luminographic detection of platelet‐dense granule ATP release as an endpoint of HIT antibody‐mediated platelet activation. Sera tested included 10 SRA confirmed positive and five SRA confirmed negative samples (to establish the assay), five samples from patients with thrombocytopenia not on heparin therapy and 34 patients suspected of HIT syndrome. All SRA confirmed positive sera (n= 19) were positive by the luminographic procedure. 24/26 SRA confirmed negative sera and five sera from thrombocytopenic patients not on heparin therapy were negative using luminography. Two of four sera yielding equivocal SRA results were found to be positive by the luminographic technique. The data suggest that the use of a lumi‐aggregometer in the coagulation laboratory to detect HIT antibody‐induced platelet activation is a reliable alternative to the SRA. The luminographic procedure is both rapid and sensitive, and does not require the use of biohazardous radio‐isotopes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-177
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • aggregometry
  • heparin
  • luminography
  • platelet
  • thrombocytopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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