Papers And Originals

Coumarin Therapy and Platelet Aggregation

Br Med J 1969; 1 doi: (Published 22 February 1969) Cite this as: Br Med J 1969;1:474
  1. L. Poller,
  2. Jean M. Thomson,
  3. Celia M. Priest


    Platelet aggregation has been related to blood coagulation studies in patients on nicoumalone, a coumarin anticoagulant. Aggregation studies were performed by means of Chandler's tube and the adenosine diphosphate (A.D.P.)-induced optical density method. Platelet aggregation in Chandler's tube has been shown to be quite different from A.D.P. aggregation and to be dependent on the “intrinsic” (blood) clotting system. When the intrinsic system was depressed by coumarin anticoagulant, aggregation was delayed in Chandler's tube, but patients with a predominantly “extrinsic” (tissue) system defect gave normal results even when their prothrombin time was excessively prolonged. In contrast there was an increased response to A.D.P. in the anticoagulated patients.

    The study emphasizes the different mechanisms of platelet aggregation, which we have referred to as coagulation-induced and A.D.P.-induced aggregation. It also shows the limitations of routine control of oral anticoagulants by prothrombin time alone, as the coagulation-induced platelet aggregation appears to be quantitatively related to the overall level of clotting factors in the intrinsic system and independent of the extrinsic system.


    • * This work was performed while in receipt of a grant for Thrombosis Research from Manchester Regional Hospital Board.