Occurrence and clinical significance of pseudothrombocytopenia during abciximab therapy.
OBJECTIVES: This study determined the incidence of pseudothrombocytopenia during abciximab therapy administered for percutaneous coronary interventions and compared the clinical course of patients with pseudothrombocytopenia with the clinical courses of patients with thrombocytopenia and patients with normal platelet counts. BACKGROUND: Although pseudothrombocytopenia has been previously reported during therapy with abciximab, the incidence and significance of this occurrence are unknown. The failure to differentiate pseudothrombocytopenia from thrombocytopenia could lead to unnecessary interruption of abciximab infusions or to platelet transfusions. METHODS: The incidences of pseudothrombocytopenia and thrombocytopenia were determined in four large placebo-controlled abciximab trials: c7E3 Fab Antiplatelet Therapy in Unstable Refractory Angina (CAPTURE), Evaluation of 7E3 for the Prevention of Ischemic Complications (EPIC), Evaluation of Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty to Improve Long-term Outcome of c7E3 GpIIb/IIIa Receptor Blockade (EPILOG) and Evaluation of Platelet IIb/IIIa Inhibitor for Stenting (EPISTENT). The clinical features, bleeding complications and major clinical outcomes of patients with pseudothrombocytopenia and those with thrombocytopenia were compared with each other and with those of patients with normal platelet count. RESULTS: Pseudothrombocytopenia occurred in 2.1% (95% confidence intervals [CI]: 1.7%, 2.5%) of abciximab-treated patients and in 0.6% of placebo-treated patients (p < 0.001). Thrombocytopenia occurred in 3.7% (95% CI: 3.2%, 4.2%) of abciximab-treated patients and in 1.8% (95% CI: 1.3%, 2.3%) of placebo-treated patients (p < 0.001). Patients with thrombocytopenia had significantly higher rates of major bleeding, major decreases in hemoglobin and increased transfusion requirements of both blood and platelets compared with those without thrombocytopenia. By contrast, pseudothrombocytopenic patients did not differ from patients with normal platelet counts in any of the measures of blood loss or transfusion requirements. Thrombocytopenic patients, but not those with pseudothrombocytopenia, had increased rates of revascularization at 30 days and six months. As previously reported, there was also a higher rate of death and myocardial infarction in the thrombocytopenic patients. CONCLUSIONS: Pseudothrombocytopenia is the cause of more than one third (36.3%) of low platelet counts in patients undergoing coronary interventions who are treated with abciximab. This study demonstrates that pseudothrombocytopenia is a benign laboratory condition that does not increase bleeding, stroke, transfusion requirements or the need for repeat revascularization. It is important to recognize pseudothrombocytopenia so that the beneficial effects of abciximab are not lost by premature termination of therapy.
Sane, DC; Damaraju, LV; Topol, EJ; Cabot, CF; Mascelli, MA; Harrington, RA; Simoons, ML; Califf, RM
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