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J Am Coll Cardiol. 1983 Jun;1(6):1381-4.

Evaluation of platelet reactivity in patients with valvular heart disease.


Transmission electron microscopy with a standardized in vitro method was used to evaluate the degree of blood platelet reactivity in 72 normal subjects and 72 patients with valvular heart disease. Among the patients with abnormal natural heart valves, 51 had either aortic insufficiency or aortic stenosis, and 21 patients showed either mitral insufficiency or mitral stenosis. For normal subjects, the platelet differential counts were dominated by the dendritic type platelet, and only a few platelets showed cytoplasmic spreading between adjacent pseudopodia (spread type). A hyperactive response was defined as greater than 20% of the spread type platelet or more than 93 aggregates per 100 single platelets counted, or both. Only 6 (8%) of the 72 normal subjects showed hyperactive platelets. In contrast, 45 (62%) of the 72 patients with valvular heart disease had hyperactive platelets (p less than 0.01). For patients with abnormal valves, the mean percent of the spread type platelet was 35% with a mean value of 105 platelet aggregates. The increased level of platelet reactivity was independent of both the position of the valve (aortic versus mitral) and its functional status (insufficient versus stenotic). Disturbed flow and the exposure of subendothelial thrombus-producing materials are features associated with abnormal heart valves. These factors, which usually occur in combination, may explain the hyperactive platelet response found in these patients.

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