Background: The study was conducted in order to analyze the incidence of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) and heparin-induced thrombocytopenia and thrombosis syndrome (HITTS)in 240 patients from the Department of Vascular Surgery in China, to evaluate the current laboratory detection technique, and to explore the feasibility for the technique to be developed in China.
Methods: 240 patients receiving unfractionated heparin (UFH) were studied in one center. Before and after the UFH treatment, platelet count, HIT-antibody ELISA test, and heparin-induced platelet aggregation (HIPA) were tested.
Results: Among 240 patients, HIT was diagnosed in 36 cases. The incidence was 15%. HITTS occurred in 6 cases (2.5%). The median time of thrombocytopenia was the 8th day. Platelet counts recovered to normal level in 3 - 6 days after heparin withdrawal.
Conclusions: The incidence of HIT is higher; however, the incidence of HITTS is lower. Monitoring platelet count, which is simple and easy to do and available in hospitals at different levels (township hospital included), is a reliable method to diagnose HIT early. The HIT-antibody ELISA test could be introduced in specific hospitals to prescreen HIT. In view of the higher sensitivity and specificity of HIPA, it can be used in larger diagnostic centers in all the big cities of China.