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Am J Hematol. 2008 Mar;83(3):212-7.

Utility of consecutive repeat HIT ELISA testing for heparin-induced thrombocytopenia.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA. mmchan@bidmc.harvard.edu


Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is a serious complication of heparin therapy. Limited data are available regarding repeat HIT antibody testing after an initial negative test. We conducted a retrospective study to determine the utility of repeat testing. Heparin antibodies were detected using the GTI-PF4 enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay, ELISA (GTI Diagnostics, Waukesha, WI). Patients (n = 137) were assigned to one of three groups based upon the initial negative test optical density (OD) range of low = 0-0.132, medium = 0.133-0.267, and high = 0.268-0.399. A pretest clinical score was retrospectively determined using the "4T's" (Thrombocytopenia, Timing of platelet fall, Thrombosis, and the absence of oTher causes of thrombocytopenia). A subsequent positive ELISA was found in 16% (22/137) of patients who underwent repeat testing. Most of these patients had a low pretest clinical score (62%). Four patients had an interval change in the pretest score between the initial negative and subsequent positive tests. Only these four patients developed HIT with thrombosis (HITT). Eighty percent of patients with a high initial negative test OD value had a positive ELISA on repeat testing; however, the initial negative test OD value could not predict whether a patient developed HITT. In contrast, an increase in the pretest clinical probability between initial and repeat testing better predicted HITT. Consecutive repeat ELISA testing for heparin antibodies may be warranted in patients with an increase in their pretest clinical score after an initial negative test as an adjunct to confirm the diagnosis of HIT.

(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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