Heparin kinetics determined by three assay methods

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1982 Jan;31(1):104-13. doi: 10.1038/clpt.1982.16.


Heparin kinetics were determined in four normal subjects, each of whom received three different doses (25, 50, and 75 units/kg body weight) by intravenous injection. Multiple blood samples were collected after each dose and each plasma sample was assayed for heparin activity using three different assay methods. Two of these assays are based on coagulation tests, i.e., activated partial thromboplastin time and thrombin time, while the third is based on chemical neutralization of heparin using hexadimethrine bromide. Heparin kinetics showed pronounced dose-dependent changes, irrespective of the assay method used, which were characterized by increasing biologic half-life and decreasing total clearance (Cl) with increasing dose. No changes were noted in apparent volume of distribution (Vd). This data also showed that there were differences in kinetic parameters of heparin depending on the assay method. In general, values for total Cl and apparent Vd based on chemical neutralization were approximately 1.5 to 2.0 times these parameters based on coagulation tests. We conclude that the immediate mechanism of the dose-dependent heparin kinetics is decreasing total clearance with increasing dose and suggest that in vivo activation of the anticoagulant properties of heparin may explain the assay-dependent kinetics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Heparin / metabolism*
  • Hexadimethrine Bromide / analysis
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Methods
  • Partial Thromboplastin Time
  • Thrombin Time


  • Hexadimethrine Bromide
  • Heparin