Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia is an immune-mediated adverse drug reaction that is associated with a procoagulant state and both arterial and venous thrombosis. After observing two cases of repeated hemofiltration-filter clotting associated with high anti-PF4/heparin antibody concentrations, we systematically measured the anti-PF4/heparin antibody concentration in all cases of unexpected and repeated hemofiltration-filter clotting during continuous veno-venous hemofiltration (CVVH). The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with positive anti-PF4/heparin antibody in the case of repeated hemofiltration-filter clotting.
We reviewed the charts of all patients who had an anti-PF4/heparin antibody assay performed for repeated hemofiltration-filter clotting between November 2004 and May 2006 in our surgical intensive care unit. We used an enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay (heparin-platelet factor 4-induced antibody) with an optical density (OD) of greater than 1 IU considered positive.
During the study period, anti-PF4/heparin antibody assay was performed in 28 out of 87 patients receiving CVVH. Seven patients were positive for anti-PF4/heparin antibodies (OD 2.00 [1.36 to 2.22] IU) and 21 were antibody-negative (OD 0.20 [0.10 to 0.32] IU). Baseline characteristics, platelet counts, and activated partial thromboplastin time ratios were not different between the two groups. CVVH duration was significantly decreased in antibody-positive patients (5.0 [2.5 to 7.5] versus 12.0 [7.5 to 24.0] hours; P = 0.007) as was CVVH efficiency (urea reduction ratio 17% [10% to 37%] versus 44% [30% to 52%]; P = 0.04) on heparin infusion. Anti-PF4/heparin antibody concentration was inversely correlated with CVVH duration. The receiver operating characteristic curve showed that a 6-hour cutoff was the best CVVH session duration to predict a positive antibody test (sensitivity 71%, specificity 85%, and area under the curve 0.83). CVVH duration (32 [22 to 37] hours; P < 0.05) and urea reduction (55% [36% to 68%]; P < 0.03) were restored by danaparoid sodium infusion.
Repeated hemofiltration-filter clotting in less than 6 hours was often associated with the presence of anti-PF4/heparin antibodies, regardless of the platelet count. In antibody-positive patients, replacement of heparin by danaparoid sodium allowed the restoration of CVVH duration and efficiency.