Prognostic Significance of Thrombocytopenia During Hirudin and Heparin Therapy in Acute Coronary Syndrome Without ST Elevation
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BACKGROUND: The development of thrombocytopenia in acute coronary syndromes (ACS) appears to be associated with adverse clinical outcomes. Unfractionated heparin is a recognized cause of thrombocytopenia, but the incidence, predictors, and prognostic significance of thrombocytopenia during hirudin therapy in ACS have not been reported. METHODS AND RESULTS: Patients with ACS without ST elevation were randomized in a double-blind manner to receive a 72-hour intravenous infusion of unfractionated heparin or hirudin. Platelet counts were measured at baseline and within 24 hours of completion of study drug. The overall incidence of thrombocytopenia (<100x10(9)/L) was 1% and was similar in unfractionated heparin- and hirudin-treated patients (P:=0.42). Thrombocytopenia during study drug infusion was an independent predictor of 7-day outcomes, including death (OR, 6.7; 95% CI, 1.9 to 25); the composite of death, myocardial infarction, and recurrent ischemia (OR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.0 to 1.5); revascularization (OR, 4.0; 95% CI, 2.2 to 7.1); and major bleeding (OR, 8.3; 95% CI, 3.4 to 17.7). Among patients who developed thrombocytopenia, hirudin (OR, 5.4; 95% CI, 2.6 to 11.3) but not unfractionated heparin (OR, 2.0; 95% CI, 0.3 to 14.4) therapy was associated with a significantly increased risk of major bleeding. CONCLUSIONS: Early-onset thrombocytopenia in patients with ACS without ST elevation is strongly associated with adverse clinical outcomes, including death, ischemic events, and bleeding. The excess of major bleeding in hirudin-treated patients who develop thrombocytopenia suggests that thrombocytopenia may contribute to the increased risk of bleeding observed with hirudin.
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