Combination of two complementary automated rapid assays for diagnosis of heparin‐induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: HIT diagnosis typically uses complementary diagnostic assays (eg, a PF4-dependent enzyme-immunoassay [EIA] and a platelet activation assay such as the serotonin-release assay [SRA]). OBJECTIVES: To determine whether the combination of two automated assays-a latex immunoturbidimetric assay (LIA) that evaluates competitive inhibition of a HIT-like monoclonal antibody and a chemiluminescence immunoassay (CLIA) for detecting anti-PF4/heparin IgG-optimizes diagnostic sensitivity while also yielding good specificity, particularly at high assay reactivities. PATIENTS/METHODS: We determined operating characteristics using combined LIA/CLIA results from a HIT observational trial (n = 430; derivation cohort) and 147 consecutive patients with HIT (n = 147; supplementary derivation cohort). We also evaluated 678 consecutive samples referred for HIT testing (replication cohort). LIA/CLIA reactivities were scored individually as "negative" (<1.00 U/mL, 0 points), "weak" (1.00-4.99 U/mL, 1 point), "moderate" (5.00-15.99 U/mL, 2 points) and "strong" (≥16.00 U/mL, 3 points), thus contributing up to 6 points (maximum) when LIA/CLIA results were combined. We also examined whether higher LIA/CLIA scores predicted presence of platelet-activating antibodies by conventional and modified (PF4- or PF4/heparin-enhanced) SRA. RESULTS: Combined LIA/CLIA testing yielded high diagnostic sensitivity (~99%) similar to EIA. Interpretation of LIA/CLIA results using the 6-point scale indicated progressively greater likelihood for the presence of platelet-activating antibodies with increasing scores (semi-quantitative reactivity). A LIA/CLIA score ≥ 4 points predicted the presence of platelet-activating antibodies by SRA or PF4-enhanced SRA with high probability (~98%). CONCLUSION: Combined LIA/CLIA testing optimizes diagnostic sensitivity, with progressively greater probability of detecting platelet-activating antibodies with higher assay reactivity that reaches 98% when both automated assays yield moderate or strong results.


  • Warkentin, Theodore E
  • Sheppard, Jo‐Ann I
  • Smith, James W
  • Li, Na
  • Moore, Jane C
  • Arnold, Donald
  • Nazy, Ishac

publication date

  • June 2020