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Research Letter
October 2018

Association of Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia With Bacterial Infection in Trauma Patients

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Trauma, Burns, and Surgical Critical Care, Department of Surgery, University of California, Irvine, Medical Center, Orange
JAMA Surg. 2018;153(10):964-965. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2018.1652

Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is a rare complication that has been reported to occur in 0.36% of trauma patients and is caused by antibody formation to complexes between heparin and platelet-factor 4 (PF4), leading to platelet activation and subsequent thrombosis.1,2 An earlier report demonstrated that PF4 can bind to bacteria, inducing an autoimmune response similar to the major antigen in HIT.3 We hypothesized that trauma patients with HIT have a higher incidence of bacterial infection during their hospitalization compared with patients without HIT. In addition, we provide a descriptive analysis of HIT in trauma patients.

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