The diagnosis of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) may be affirmed by demonstrating heparin-dependent anti-platelet antibodies using the 14C-serotonin release assay (SRA). In this study, results of the SRA was compared with the recently described platelet factor 4 (PF4)/heparin enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Compared with the SRA, the sensitivity and specificity of a PF4/heparin ELISA was 87% and 92%, respectively, using an assay developed in our laboratory; and 90% and 98%, respectively, using a commercially developed kit (Diagnostica Stago, Asnieres, France). However, antibodies to PF4/heparin were also detected in up to 8% of patients whose plasma was negative by SRA, and 23% of patients receiving heparin who were not thrombocytopenic. These data indicate that results obtained with the PF4/heparin ELISA and the SRA are generally in accord in patients with a clinical diagnosis of HIT. However, discrepant results occur in approximately 20% of cases because of the greater sensitivity of ELISA and the possible involvement of other heparin-binding proteins. The fact that each assay contributes independent information in some cases must be considered in the sequence of test performance and in providing consultation to the practicing hematologist.