Evaluation of platelet function in aspirin treated patients with CAD

Marlene S. Williams, Thomas S. Kickler, Dhananjay Vaidya, Ladina S. Ng'alla, David E. Bush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Studies of platelet function in the acute coronary syndrome (ACS) have revealed both increased and unchanged platelet activation. To obtain a better understanding of platelet function in coronary artery disease in the setting of aspirin therapy, we performed platelet functional testing in patients with ACS and compared results to patients without CAD. Methods: We measured platelet aggregation and activation in response to ADP and epinephrine in 80 age and gender matched hospitalized patients (40 with ACS, 40 with non-cardiac chest pain (NCCP)). All subjects received ASA (81-325 mg). Platelet aggregation was performed using standard light transmission in platelet-rich plasma and activation was measured via flow cytometric analyses. We also studied platelet function under high shear rates measured by the platelet function analyzer (PFA-100). Results: ASA effect was found to be present in all subjects by blunted platelet aggregation in response to arachidonic acid. Patients with ACS showed significantly higher levels of platelet aggregation to epinephrine compared to patients with NCCP (p = 0.001). Other measures of platelet function including ADP aggregation, Pselectin, activated glycoprotein IIb/IIIa expression, and PFA-100 were unchanged between the two groups. Conclusions: We have found conflicting results of platelet functional testing in ACS. Specifically aspirin therapy in patients with ACS is effective in suppressing the platelet release response and is effective in the partial suppression of platelet aggregation; however, it appears that ACS patients have increased platelet aggregation to adrenergic stimuli when compared to age and gender matched controls without CAD despite the use of aspirin. In some studies, because ACS patients have an accentuated response to adrenergic stimuli this might be interpreted as aspirin resistance. Our study suggests that depending on the assay used to determine aspirin resistance, not all patients with this label are resistant to the biological effects of aspirin but they may have higher than normal baseline platelet sensitivity to adrenergic stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-247
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Acute coronary syndrome
  • Aspirin resistance
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Platelet aggregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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