Activated Clotting Time (ACT) for Monitoring of Low-Dose Heparin: Performance Characteristics in Healthy Adults and Critically Ill Patients.
Dose adjustment of unfractionated heparin (UFH) anticoagulation is an important factor to reduce hemorrhagic events. High doses of heparin can be monitored by Activated Clotting Time (ACT). Because of limited information about the monitoring of low-dose heparin we assessed monitoring by ACT, aPTT and anti-Xa. Blood samples from healthy volunteers (n = 54) were treated ex vivo with increasing UFH doses (0-0.4 IU/ml). Samples from ICU-patients (n = 60), were drawn during continuous UFH infusion. Simultaneous ACT measurements were performed using iSTAT and Hemochron. In UFH treated blood, iSTAT and Hemochron showed a significant change of ACT at ≥0.075 IU/ml and ≥0.1 IU/ml UFH, respectively. In ICU-patients no relationship between ACT and either UFH dose, aPTT and anti-Xa was observed. Hemochron was affected by antithrombin and platelet count. iSTAT was sensitive to CRP and hematocrit. A moderate correlation was identified between UFH dose and aPTT (R2 = 0.196) or anti-Xa (R2 = 0.162). In heparin-spiked blood, ACT is sensitive to heparin at levels of ≥0.1 IU/ml heparin. In ICU-patients, ACT did not correlate with UFH dose or other established methods. Both systems were differently influenced by certain parameters.