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Am Heart J. 1990 Jun;119(6):1254-61.

Intravenous nitroglycerin-induced heparin resistance: a qualitative antithrombin III abnormality.

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  • 1Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester.

Abstract

An ability of intravenous nitroglycerin to interfere with the anticoagulant properties of intravenous heparin would have profound clinical implications. To investigation nitroglycerin-heparin interactions, the following pilot study was performed. Patients (N = 18) admitted to the coronary care unit with a diagnosis of either acute myocardial infarction or unstable angina were divided into four treatment groups: (1) intravenous nitroglycerin and intravenous heparin; (2) intravenous nitroglycerin alone; (3) intravenous heparin alone; or (4) neither intravenous nitroglycerin nor intravenous heparin. Serial determinations of activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), serum heparin concentration, antithrombin III (ATIII) antigen (ATA), and ATIII activity (ATC) were obtained over a 72-hour period. Overall, patients receiving intravenous nitroglycerin did not differ significantly from other patients in APTT, heparin dose, heparin concentration, ATA, ATC, or ATA/ATC ratio (ATR). However, patients receiving intravenous nitroglycerin at a rate exceeding 350 micrograms per minute had a lower APTT (p less than 0.05), lower ATC (p = 0.02), higher ATR (p = 0.004), and a larger heparin dose requirement than patients receiving lower infusion rates. ATR correlated directly (r = 0.91; p less than 0.05) and ATC inversely (r = -0.78; p less than 0.05) with the intravenous nitroglycerin dose. Serum heparin concentration did not correlate with the intravenous nitroglycerin dose. Intravenous nitroglycerin-induced heparin resistance occurs at a critical nitroglycerin dose. A nitroglycerin-induced qualitative ATIII abnormality may be the underlying mechanism.

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PMID:
2112878
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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