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Int J Artif Organs. 2011 Mar;34(3):280-7.

Prothrombotic changes in platelet, endothelial and coagulation function following hemodialysis.

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  • 1Department of Vascular Surgery, University of Aberdeen and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.



Patients on hemodialysis (HD) have an increased risk of thrombotic events, including myocardial infarction and vascular access thrombosis. The study hypothesis is that a single session of dialysis leads to platelet, endothelial and coagulation activation. Our aim is to determine the effect of a single HD session on prothrombotic vascular biomarkers before and after a single session of hemodialysis.


Blood samples were taken from the vascular access of 55 patients immediately before and after a hemodialysis session. Platelet function was assessed by (1) flow cytometric measurement of P-selectin expression and fibrinogen binding +/- ADP stimulation, (2) Ultegra rapid platelet function assay (RPFA) using the agonists thrombin receptor activating peptide (TRAP) and arachidonic acid (AA), (3) soluble P-selectin, and (4) soluble CD40L. Coagulation (thrombin-antithrombin III [TAT] and D-dimer), endothelial von Willebrand factor (vWF) and high sensitivity C-Reactive protein (hsCRP) were assessed by ELISA.


Unfractionated heparin was given to all patients during dialysis and 30 patients (55%) were on antiplatelet agents. Post-hemodialysis there were significant increases in unstimulated platelet P-selectin (p=.037), stimulated P-selectin (p<.001), soluble P-selectin (p<.001) and soluble CD40L (p=.036). Stimulated platelet fibrinogen binding was increased post-hemodialysis (p<.001) but unstimulated fibrinogen binding was unchanged. TRAP- (p<.001] and AA-(p=.009) stimulated aggregation were reduced post-hemodialysis. There were increases post-hemodialysis in TAT (p<.001), D-dimer (p<.001), vWF (p<.001) and hsCRP (p=.011).


This study has shown that despite heparin therapy, a single session of HD induced increases in platelet, endothelial, and coagulation activation. More effective medical strategies to reduce the prothrombotic state of patients on hemodialysis should be investigated.

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