There are two types of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. Type I is more common, has an early onset, and is mild, transient, and benign. Type I is due to direct heparin-induced platelet aggregation and is rarely associated with thromboembolic sequela. Type II is infrequent, has a late onset, and is more severe. Type II is due to an immune-mediated platelet aggregation caused by IgG and IgM that becomes bound to platelets. In Type II, the antibody titers decline over several months; however, early reexposure can result in a catastrophic secondary immune response. Frequently, Type II is associated with life- or limb-threatening thromboembolic complications (white clots), including stroke.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association