Heparin-bonded grafts induce platelet aggregation in the presence of heparin-associated antiplatelet antibodies

J. I. Almeida, T. K. Liem, D. Silver, J. R. Hoch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: Thromboresistant synthetic grafts should decrease the frequency of graft thromboses and could be useful in bypasses to small arteries and to arteries with compromised flow. Heparin-bonded grafts (HBG) have been developed. Studies were done to determine whether the heparin bond is permanent and whether the HBG would aggregate platelets in the presence of heparin-associated antiplatelet antibodies (HAAbs). Methods: We studied an 8 nun HBG from company A (HBGA) and 8 nun and 6 mm HBGs from company B (HBGB-8 and HBGB-6), none of which is available for clinical use in the United States. Five 1 cm long segments of HBGA, HBGB-8, and HBGB-6 were incubated for 24 hours in 5 ml of plasma, 10 ml of saline, or 10 ml of Ringer's lactate. After incubation, 1 ml was obtained from each solution and assayed for heparin. Segments of each graft that leached off an equivalent of 1 U of heparin/ml (i.e., 1 mm2 of HBGA, 5 mm2 of HBGB-8, and 20 mm2 of HBGB-6) were incubated with 0.15 ml of plasma with HAAbs (six samples per graft) for 30 minutes at 25°C. The grafts were removed, and 0.1 ml of normal-donor, platelet-rich plasma was added. The samples were placed in an aggregometer and allowed to react until positive aggregation occurred or 27 minutes had elapsed. Segments of non-heparin-bonded polyester grafts served as controls. Results: Heparin leached off all grafts in plasma (mean values: HBGA, 83.4 U of heparin/ml; HBGB-8, 4 U of heparin/ml; HBGB-6, 6.2 U of heparin/ml). In normal saline, the mean heparin concentrations were lower (HBGA, 10.8 U of heparin/ml; HBGB-8, 0 U of heparin/ml; HBGB-6, 0.01 U of heparin/ml. The mean heparin concentration after incubation in Ringer's lactate were 10 U of heparin/ml for HBGA, 0 U of heparin/ml HBGB-8, and 0.22 U of heparin/ml HBGB- 6. All of the HBGs induced platelet aggregation inHAAb-positive plasma. None of the control grafts induced platelet aggregation in HAAb-positive plasma. Conclusions: All HBGs leeched heparin into plasma, and all induced platelet aggregation in the presence of HAAbs. The possibility of sensitizing patients to heparin leeching from a HBG with the activation of platelets and secondary thrombosis strongly suggests that HBG be used with great caution. Other methods for inducing graft thromboresistance should be developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)896-901
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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