Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is a serious complication of heparin therapy. As HIT is considered a clinico-pathologic entity, laboratory practices have an important role in diagnosing or excluding HIT. It was the objective of this study to assess the current status of laboratory testing for HIT in North America. An online survey consisting of 67 questions related to laboratory testing for HIT was developed by the North American Specialized Coagulation Laboratory Association (NASCOLA), and distributed to its 59 members. The survey included queries about HIT test ordering practices, HIT immunoassay and activation assays performed, and reporting practices. Data was collected from the 44 NASCOLA laboratories who responded. Of these sites, 88% performed immunoassays for HIT, commonly using commercial assays. However, sites varied in practices related to use of controls, immunoglobulin class of antibody detected, and in result interpretation and reporting. Platelet activation assays for HIT were performed by 36% of sites, commonly using assays of serotonin release (50%) or heparin-induced platelet aggregation (43%). Sites varied in the use of washed platelets versus platelet-rich plasma, controls, and heparin concentrations. This survey is the first comprehensive assessment of patterns of practice in HIT testing among diagnostic coagulation laboratories in North America. We observed site-specific variability of testing methods encompassing all stages of testing, including pre-analytical handling, testing methodologies, and result interpretation and reporting. The variability in HIT platelet activation assay methods among institutions indicates a need for proficiency testing to assess assay performance, and for consensus guidelines on HIT laboratory testing.
View details for DOI 10.1160/TH07-06-0401
View details for Web of Science ID 000251687400031
View details for PubMedID 18064336