Rapid removal of heparin from plasma by affinity filtration

B. Wenz, E. R. Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Coagulation test abnormalities caused by the presence of heparin are not uncommon and frequently result in additional laboratory investigation and unwarranted therapy. Methods to neutralize the effect of heparin include the addition of polyanions, enzymes, or resins to the clinical samples. These techniques are time consuming and cumbersome and produce inconsistent results. As an alternative, use of a positively charged porous filtration medium to remove heparin from the sample is described. The filtration procedure requires less than one minute and provides a consistent and total removal of heparin at plasma concentrations in excess of therapeutic levels. Chromogenic substrate analysis for residual heparin activity confirms total removal of the drug at levels greater than one unit/mL of plasma. In clinical trials, filtration normalized the activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) of all patient specimens containing heparin (n = 41). Filtration did not shorten the coagulation assay times of patients receiving warfarin (n = 36) or of those with a variety of acquired coagulopathies (n = 14). The level of coagulation factors adsorbed to the filter medium compares favorably to that adsorbed by other commercially available heparin-binding resins. Routine use of the filter in the clinical laboratory allows for the rapid and definitive identification of heparin in specimens with prolonged coagulation times and provides clinically meaningful data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-390
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991


  • APTT
  • Coagulation tests
  • Heparin
  • Warfarin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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