The Effectiveness of Drugs that Modify Platelet Function in Peripheral Venous Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism

  • A. G. G. Turpie


Venous thrombi consist mainly of fibrin and trapped red blood cells but there is evidence that some venous thrombi originate in valve pockets as aggregates of platelets which propagate with the formation of fibrin to form classical red thrombi (Paterson, 1969; Sevitt, 1973). In addition, platelet thrombi may form at sites of direct injury to veins, for example, after trauma to the legs or to the femoral vein during hip surgery (Clagett, Brier, Rosoff, Schneider & Salzman, 1974; Clagett, Scheider, Rosoff & Salzman, 1975). It is possible, because of the role of platelets in the genesis of venous thrombosis, that drugs that suppress platelet function may be of value in preventing the formation of venous thrombi which arise principally as platelet aggregates. Four antiplatelet drugs, aspirin, dipyridamole, hydroxychloroquine and sulphinpyrazone have been tested in prospective clinical trials for the prevention of deep vein thrombosis, and in one study the effect of aspirin on fatal pulmonary embolism was evaluated. Dextran, a glucose polymer introduced as a volume expander, also inhibits platelet function and has antithrombotic properties, but these properties may not be due to its antiplatelet effect alone.


Deep Vein Thrombosis Venous Thrombosis Venous Thromboembolism Platelet Function Antiplatelet Drug 
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© The contributors 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. G. G. Turpie
    • 1
  1. 1.McMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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