Impaired platelet function correlates with multi-organ dysfunction. A study of patients with sepsis

Platelets. 1998;9(3-4):223-5. doi: 10.1080/09537109876735.


Patients with sepsis often suffer from haemostatic disturbances such as haemorrhage and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Considering the pivotal role of platelets in haemostasis, we have investigated platelet function by flow cytometry in 16 patients with sepsis for a better understanding of their haemostatic function. We have also investigated whether platelet function correlates with the severity of disease assessed by multiple organ dysfunction (MOD) score and patient outcome. The platelet response ex vivo after stimulation with agonists, measured as platelet fibrinogen, binding was low in comparison with healthy volunteers ( n = 30). This could reflect a previous response to agonists in vivo , which lead to platelet activation and consumption and formation of microthrombi that could then participate in the development of M OD. The platelets that remain in the circulation might be the result of a selection process where the most active platelets have already been consumed, and the remaining population consists of less active platelets. Another explanation might be desensitization of the remaining platelets because of exposure to agonists in vivo . Platelet activation with the agonists ADP and arachidonic acid were predictive of subsequent development of MOD and final patient outcome.