Laboratory and demographic predictors of functional assay positive status in suspected heparin-induced thrombocytopenia: A multicenter retrospective cohort study Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is an antibody-mediated immune response against platelet factor 4 (PF4) bound to heparin anticoagulants. A priori identification of patients at-risk for HIT remains elusive and a number of risk factors have been identified, but these associations and their effect sizes have limited validation in large cohorts of suspected HIT patients. The aim of this study was to investigate existing anti-PF4/heparin antibody thresholds and model the relationship of demographic variables and anti-PF4/heparin antibody levels with functional assay positivity across multiple institutions in the absence of detailed clinical data. In a large collection of suspected HIT patients (n = 8904), we tested for associations between laboratory and demographic variables and functional assay positive status as well as anti-PF4/heparin antibody levels. We also tested for correlation between IgG-specific and polyspecific (IgG/IgA/IgM) anti-PF4/heparin antibody values and their ability to predict functional assay positive status using area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC). Logistic regression identified increasing anti-PF4/heparin antibody OD levels (OR = 51.84 [37.27-74.34], p < 2.0 × 10-16) and female sex (OR = 1.47 [1.19-1.82], p = 3.5 × 10-4) as risk factors for positive functional assay in the largest cohort with consistent effect sizes in two other cohorts. In a subset of 1175 patients, polyspecific and IgG-specific anti-PF4/heparin antibody values were heterogeneous (mean coefficient of variation = 31.9 %), but strongly correlated (rho = 0.878; p < 2 × 10-16) with similar prediction of functional assay positivity (polyspecific AUROC = 0.976 and IgG-specific AUROC = 0.980). Thus, we recapitulate previously identified risk factors of functional assay positivity, providing precise effect sizes in a large observational population of suspected HIT patients. Our data reinforce the necessity of functional assay confirmation and suggest that, despite heterogeneity, polyspecific and IgG-specific anti-PF4/heparin antibody assays predict functional assay positive status similarly, even in the absence of 4Ts scores and detailed clinical data.


  • Giles, Jason B
  • Rollin, Jerome
  • Martinez, Kiana L
  • Selleng, Kathleen
  • Thiele, Thomas
  • Pouplard, Claire
  • Sheppard, Jo-Ann I
  • Heddle, Nancy
  • Phillips, Elizabeth J
  • Roden, Dan M
  • Gruel, Yves
  • Warkentin, Theodore E
  • Greinacher, Andreas
  • Karnes, Jason H

publication date

  • September 2023