Effect of heparin on plasma fibrinopeptide A in patients with acute myocardial infarction.
The plasma level of fibrinopeptide A (fpA) was used as an index of thrombin action on fibrinogen in order to investigate the rates of fibrin formation and the effect of heparin on thrombin in patients with acute myocardial infarction. The fpA levels measured on admission in 19 patients with acute myocardial infarction ranged from 1.7 to 12.4 ng/ml and were elevated (greater than 2.5 ng/ml) in 16 patients. A loading dose of 5000 IU of heparin resulted in a significant decrease within 20 min of the mean fpA level (from 5.1 to 2.2 ng/ml; p less than .001) and in an fpA normalization in five of 16 patients. During the following continuous infusion of 20,000 IU of heparin per day, the mean fpA levels measured on day 0, 1, and 2 were 3.0, 3.2, and 3.4 ng/ml, respectively, with 16 of 46 fpA values within the normal range. In 10 additional patients, the effect of higher concentrations of heparin and the consequences of stopping heparin infusion were studied. An additional 5000 IU of heparin injected intravenously during continuous infusion of 20,000 IU of heparin per day resulted in a substantial decrease of the plasma fpA level in three of 10 measurements. The stopping of heparin infusion led to an impressive increase of the mean fpA level (from 3.1 to 12.9 ng/ml; p less than .001) within 2 hr. These data demonstrate increased fibrin formation in patients with acute myocardial infarction and neutralization of thrombin in vivo by heparin.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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