High residual platelet reactivity (HRPR) on clopidogrel is a predictor of recurrent ischemic events in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI). Significant intraindividual variability in platelet aggregation on repeat testing has been reported. To understand factors contributing to the variability in platelet aggregation testing, we examined clinical and laboratory elements linked to HRPR in 255 consecutive patients tested ≥12 hours after PCI using light transmission aggregometry (LTA) in response to adenosine diphosphate 5 μmol/L and VerifyNow P2Y12 assay (VNP2Y12; Accumetrics). HRPR was defined as >46% residual aggregation for LTA and >236 P2Y12 response units (PRUs) for VNP2Y12. On multivariate analysis the only variable independently associated with HRPR with both LTA and VNP2Y12 was laboratory-defined anemia. Prevalences of HRPR by LTA were 34.3% in anemic patients, 15.6% in patients with normal hemoglobin levels, and 59.8% versus 25.9% by VNP2Y12 (p <0.005 for the 2 comparisons). In a subgroup of 50 patients, testing was done before and after the clopidogrel loading dose. At baseline there were no differences in platelet aggregation with either assay; however, absolute decrease in reactivity after the clopidogrel load was significantly less in anemic patients compared to patients with normal hemoglobin (change in residual aggregation by LTA 15.8 ± 5.8% vs 28.8 ± 3.2%, p <0.05; change in PRU by VNP2Y12 56.5 ± 35.5 vs 145.0 ± 14.2 PRUs, p <0.05, respectively). In conclusion, anemia is an important contributor to apparent HRPR on clopidogrel and may explain some of the intraindividual variability of platelet aggregation testing.
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