Background: Applicability of thrombin generation tests to clinical routine has been sought for many years. The aim of this study was to compare thrombin generation measured in fresh platelet poor plasma (f-PPP) and frozen-thawed platelet poor plasma (ft-PPP) to prove the consistency of results.
Methods: In this prospective study, thrombin generation was measured in twenty-fold repetitions in 3.2% citrate PPP obtained from male healthy blood donors aged 19 - 39 years (n = 54 donations). The tests were performed with fresh PPP and repeated after storing the PPP at -60°C. In two subgroup analyses, the effect of higher and lower normal baseline platelet counts on the Calibrated Automated Thrombogram (CAT) assay and the influence of ABO blood groups on thrombin generation were analyzed.
Results: Referring to the parameters of thrombin generation most frequently used in studies, peak thrombin of f-PPP and ft-PPP agreed in about 50% of the samples. Endogenous thrombin potential (ETP) of f-PPP and ft-PPP agreed in nearly two-thirds of the samples. A slightly but significantly slower kinetic was found in the thrombin generation of ft-PPP compared with f-PPP. At least in f-PPP, ETP correlates with baseline platelet counts of the whole blood sample. Peak thrombin was significantly higher in non-O blood groups compared to O blood group.
Conclusions: A low level of agreement between the results of f-PPP and ft-PPP is shown. In terms of practicability of sample collection using semi-automated thrombin-generation assays ft-PPP should be preferred over f-PPP. We therefore recommend using ft-PPP in clinical studies.