Predictive value of the 4Ts scoring system for heparin-induced thrombocytopenia: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Blood. 2012 Nov 15;120(20):4160-7. doi: 10.1182/blood-2012-07-443051. Epub 2012 Sep 18.


The 4Ts is a pretest clinical scoring system for heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT). Although widely used in clinical practice, its predictive value for HIT in diverse settings and patient populations is unknown. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the predictive value of the 4Ts in patients with suspected HIT. We searched PubMed, Cochrane Database, and ISI Web of Science for studies that included patients with suspected HIT, who were evaluated by both the 4Ts and a reference standard against which the 4Ts could be compared. Quality of eligible studies was assessed by QUADAS-2 criteria. Thirteen studies, collectively involving 3068 patients, fulfilled eligibility criteria. A total of 1712 (55.8%) patients were classified by 4Ts score as having a low probability of HIT. The negative predictive value of a low probability 4Ts score was 0.998 (95% CI, 0.970-1.000) and remained high irrespective of the party responsible for scoring, the prevalence of HIT, or the composition of the study population. The positive predictive value of an intermediate and high probability 4Ts score was 0.14 (0.09-0.22) and 0.64 (0.40-0.82), respectively. A low probability 4Ts score appears to be a robust means of excluding HIT. Patients with intermediate and high probability scores require further evaluation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects
  • Antigens, Human Platelet / immunology
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Autoantigens / immunology
  • Female
  • Heparin / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Selection
  • Platelet Count
  • Platelet Factor 4 / immunology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / chemically induced
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / diagnosis*
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / epidemiology
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / immunology
  • Reference Standards
  • Research Design
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Thrombosis / etiology
  • Time Factors


  • Anticoagulants
  • Antigens, Human Platelet
  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoantigens
  • Platelet Factor 4
  • Heparin