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Administration of eptifibatide to acute coronary syndrome patients receiving enoxaparin or unfractionated heparin: effect on platelet function and thrombus formation.

OBJECTIVES: The goal of this study was to compare the antithrombotic effects of enoxaparin versus unfractionated heparin (UFH) when combined with eptifibatide in acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients.

BACKGROUND: An increasing number of high-risk ACS patients are treated with low-molecular-weight heparin and a glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa inhibitor. There is a paucity of data regarding the antithrombotic properties of such a combination as compared with UFH and GP IIb/IIIa inhibitors.

METHODS: Twenty-six ACS patients scheduled to undergo coronary angiography were treated with subcutaneous enoxaparin (n = 13) or intravenous UFH (n = 13). All patients received eptifibatide just before coronary angiography. Antithrombotic effects were assessed as changes in platelet-thrombus formation using the Badimon ex vivo perfusion chamber. Perfusions were carried out at a high shear rate (HSR) and a low shear rate (LSR). Patients underwent two perfusion studies: at baseline (under enoxaparin or UFH) and 10 min after the eptifibatide bolus. Platelet function was evaluated by ADP-induced platelet aggregation and the rapid platelet function analyzer.

RESULTS: Both therapeutic combinations achieved a marked reduction in platelet aggregation after eptifibatide (83% to 89.7% reduction in the enoxaparin-eptifibatide group and 77.8% to 85.5% reduction in the UFH-eptifibatide group, inter-group differences not significant). Both groups also demonstrated marked reductions in thrombus formation, but the reductions achieved in the enoxaparin-eptifibatide group were significantly higher than those achieved in the UFH-eptifibatide group (HSR: 75.6% reduction vs. 63.9%, respectively, p = 0.01; LSR: 79.7% reduction vs. 66.1%, respectively, p = 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS: The combination of eptifibatide with enoxaparin appears to have a more potent antithrombotic effect than that of eptifibatide and UFH in the doses tested.

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