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J Thromb Haemost. 2009 Sep;7(9):1457-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1538-7836.2009.03526.x. Epub 2009 Jun 23.

Effect of anti-platelet factor-4/heparin antibody induction on early saphenous vein graft occlusion after coronary artery bypass surgery.

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Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.



Antibodies to complexes of heparin and platelet factor 4 (PF4) are capable of causing heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT). Recent evidence suggests that anti-PF4/heparin antibodies may be prothrombogenic even in the absence of thrombocytopenia and clinically-recognized HIT.


To determine if induction of anti-PF4/heparin antibodies is an independent risk factor for early saphenous vein graft (SVG) occlusion or adverse clinical outcome after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.


Anti-PF4/heparin antibody titers were measured in 368 patients prior to and then 4 days, 6 weeks and 6 months after CABG surgery. Serotonin release assay (SRA) and antibody isotype analysis were also performed on 6-week samples. SVG patency was determined in 297 patients 6 months after surgery by multidetector computed tomography coronary angiography.


Six weeks after surgery, 52% of patients were anti-PF4/heparin seropositive and 9% were SRA positive. Six months after surgery, neither the percentage of occluded SVG (19% vs. 20%, P = NS), the percentage of patients with an occluded SVG (33% vs. 33%, P = NS) nor the incidence of adverse clinical events (21% vs. 24%, P = NS) differed between seropositive and seronegative groups. Neither IgG isotype nor SRA positivity was additionally predictive of SVG occlusion or adverse clinical outcome.


Induction of anti-PF4/heparin antibodies, even those capable of heparin-dependent platelet activation, is not independently associated with early SVG occlusion or adverse clinical outcomes after CABG surgery.

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