A heparin-bonded vascular graft generates no systemic effect on markers of hemostasis activation or detectable heparin-induced thrombocytopenia-associated antibodies in humans

J Vasc Surg. 2008 Feb;47(2):324-9; discussion 329. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2007.10.005.


Objectives: Almost a third of patients who undergo peripheral bypass procedures do not have suitable veins, making the use of prosthetic materials necessary. Prosthetic materials can cause platelet adhesion and activation of the coagulation cascade on the graft. One potential strategy to reduce this thrombogenicity is to covalently bind heparin to the endoluminal surface of grafts. This human in vivo study examined systemic effects of the endoluminal heparin and addressed whether graft implantation results in (1) a measurable reduction of systemic markers of hemostasis activation compared with control grafts and (2) antibody formation against heparin, potentially responsible for heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT).

Methods: The study included 20 patients undergoing femoropopliteal bypass grafting, of whom 10 received a standard Gore-Tex Thin Walled Stretch Vascular Graft (W. L. Gore & Associates, Flagstaff, Ariz) and 10 received a heparin-bonded expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) graft (Gore-Tex Propaten Vascular Graft). Blood samples were drawn before and directly after the operation and at days 1, 3, 5, and week 6 after surgery. Established markers of in vivo activation of platelets and blood coagulation (prothrombin fragment 1+2, fibrinopeptide A, soluble glycoprotein V, thrombin-antithrombin complexes, and D-dimers) were measured using standard commercially available techniques. Antiplatelet factor 4/heparin antibody titers were measured using a commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and platelet counts were determined.

Results: No statistical differences were observed in any of the markers of in vivo activation of platelets and blood coagulation between patients receiving Propaten or control ePTFE. Moreover, no antibodies against heparin could be demonstrated up to 6 weeks after implantation.

Conclusions: No measurable effect of heparin immobilization on systemic markers of hemostasis was found using a heparin-bonded ePTFE graft in vivo. Also, no antibodies against heparin could be detected up to 6 weeks after implantation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antibodies / blood*
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects*
  • Anticoagulants / immunology
  • Antithrombin III
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis Implantation / adverse effects
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis Implantation / instrumentation*
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis*
  • Female
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products / metabolism
  • Fibrinopeptide A / metabolism
  • Hemostasis / drug effects*
  • Heparin / adverse effects*
  • Heparin / immunology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptide Fragments / blood
  • Peptide Hydrolases / blood
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / blood
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / surgery*
  • Platelet Count
  • Platelet Glycoprotein GPIb-IX Complex / metabolism
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Prothrombin
  • Thrombocytopenia / chemically induced*
  • Thrombocytopenia / immunology
  • Thrombosis / blood
  • Thrombosis / etiology
  • Thrombosis / prevention & control*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Patency


  • Antibodies
  • Anticoagulants
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Platelet Glycoprotein GPIb-IX Complex
  • antithrombin III-protease complex
  • fibrin fragment D
  • prothrombin fragment 1.2
  • Fibrinopeptide A
  • Antithrombin III
  • Prothrombin
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene
  • Heparin
  • Peptide Hydrolases