We have previously shown in patients after recovery from a myocardial infarct (post-MI) that the heparin neutralizing activity (HNA) in the plasma is raised and that this activity may come from platelet factor 4 derived from activated platelets. This report concerns 89 patients admitted with acute chest pain; in 54, with evidence of acute infarction, the level of HNA is much higher than in a post-MI group or controls. Over the ensuing weeks the HNA decreases to the post-MI level. In 34 patients the evidence subsequently collected excluded a diagnosis of infarction; in these there were almost always normal amounts of HNA and little overlap with the results from the patients with infarcts. This easy test is therefore likely to prove clinically useful. Its significance is discussed. The platelet count and platelet volume are both abnormal in patients with acute infarction and also in the chest pain group so these tests do not help to discriminate.
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