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Photodynamic treatment of pooled coumarin plasma for external quality assessment of the prothrombin time
  1. A M H P van den Besselaar1,
  2. A C E Moor2
  1. 1Haemostasis and Thrombosis Research Centre, Leiden University Medical Centre, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Molecular Cell Biology, University of Leiden, 2300 RA Leiden, the Netherlands
  1. Dr van den Besselaar, Haemostasis and Thrombosis Research Centre, Department of Haematology, C2-R, Leiden University Medical Centre, PO Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands email: Abesselaar{at}


Aims—To determine the conditions of photodynamic inactivation of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) added to pooled coumarin plasma and the effects of the photodynamic treatment on the prothrombin times and international normalised ratio (INR) in a Netherlands national external quality assessment scheme.

Methods—Pooled coumarin plasma samples were illuminated with visible light in the presence of 1 μM methylene blue. Inactivation conditions for VSV in pooled coumarin plasma were determined using an end point dilution assay. Plasma illuminated for 20 minutes was mixed with red blood cells and mailed to participants of the Netherlands external quality assessment (EQA) scheme. Prothrombin times and INRs were determined with various thromboplastin reagents.

Results—Photodynamic treatment using 1 μM methylene blue and 700 W/m2 caused 4.7 log inactivation of VSV in pooled coumarin plasma. Fibrinogen and coagulation factors II, V, VII, and X were decreased slightly by the treatment. These conditions caused prolongation of the prothrombin time in EQA surveys. The magnitude of the effect was different for various thromboplastin reagents. The increase of the INR was negligible when measured with the Thrombotest reagent. With other reagents, an approximately 5–16% increase of the INR was observed. Interlaboratory variation of the INR was not affected by photodynamic treatment.

Conclusions—Photodynamic treatment of pooled coumarin plasma is very effective for the inactivation of some enveloped viruses such as VSV, but has only a limited effect on the prothrombin time and INR. Photodynamic treatment can be used to improve the viral safety of coumarin plasma for EQA of the prothrombin time and INR.

  • prothrombin time
  • international normalised ratio
  • external quality assessment
  • photodynamic treatment

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