Introduction: The sensitivity of APTT reagents to deficiencies of factors VIII, IX, XI and XII varies because of their composition. The APTT is used as a screening test for these factors, and a deficiency should manifest with a prolongation to the APTT, which may trigger the need for specific factor assays to be performed.
Methods: The suitability of APTT reagents to detect mild deficiencies can be assessed by the analysis of the APTT of plasma, which has an increasing concentration of the factor in question. The APTT responsiveness can be determined from the intersection of the curve and the upper limit of the APTT normal reference range for that APTT reagent. We assessed the APTT responsiveness (in U/dl) to factors VIII, IX and XI of four APTT reagents; Actin FS (Siemens), Synthasil (IL), STA-PTTA (Stago) and Dapttin (Technoclone).
Results: Actin FS was the most sensitive reagent to mild reductions of factors VIII, IX and XI [Correction added on 26 October 2010, after first online publication: Synthasil was corrected to Actin FS]. STA-PTTA showed less sensitivity than Synthasil and Actin FS; Dapttin was insensitive to mild deficiencies of factors IX and XI and should not be used as a screening test.
Conclusion: Both Synthasil and Actin FS are acceptable reagents to screen for reduced factors VIII, IX and XI, and the number of mildly reduced factors not diagnosed will be limited.