Objective – To determine the effect of single and multiple doses of SQ heparin (200 U/kg) on the thrombelastogram of healthy dogs.
Design – Prospective study.
Setting – University research facility.
Animals – Six random-source female dogs.
Interventions – Baseline parameters, including a CBC with platelet count, prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), and antithrombin were performed. Thrombelastography (TEG) and aPTT were performed hourly for 12 hours after unfractionated heparin dosing (200 U/kg, SQ). Anti-Xa activity was assayed at 0, 3, 6, and 8 hours. Heparin was then administered every 8 hours for 3 days. The sampling protocol on Day 4 was identical to Day 1.
Measurements and Main Results – On Day 1, percentage change from baseline for TEG parameter R, as well as absolute values of K, angle, and maximum amplitude (MA) were evaluated. Statistically significant (P<0.01) prolongation of the R time and a decrease in angle and MA was seen in all dogs by hour 3. R and MA were unmeasurable for most dogs between 3 and 5 hours. All TEG tracings returned to baseline by 12 hours. Day 4 TEG tracings mimicked those on Day 1. Only 1 dog achieved aPTT values outside the reference interval on both days. Anti-Xa activity levels increased on Day 4 but not on Day 1. Based on post hoc in vitro analysis, prolongation of R time occurred at plasma heparin levels as low as 0.075 U/mL, well below the lower limit of detection of the anti-Xa activity level assay.
Conclusions – Administration of SQ heparin results in progressive changes in the TEG tracing, with maximal change occurring 3–5 hours after dosing. The extensive prolongation of the R time also indicates that TEG may be too sensitive and limits its utility as a monitoring tool for unfractionated heparin therapy.