Abstract

We studied eight patients with intermittent bleeding episodes usually following trauma and associated with the ingestion of medicine known to interfere with platelet function. All patients had a normal or minimally prolonged baseline bleeding time. All had a normal platelet count, glass bead retention test, and platelet serotonin content and a variable pattern of abnormalities in prothrombin consumption and platelet factor 3 availability. However, all showed abnormal platelet aggregation reactions using epinephrine, adenosine diphosphate, and collagen. Following the administration of 975 mg aspirin, our patients' bleeding times became prolonged to a greater extent than the bleeding times of normal controls (range 13 to greater than 20 min). Review of the literature showed approximately 5% of “normal” controls had findings similar to those we report. We believe we are describing a group of individuals with an intermediate form of platelet dysfunction. Although their bleeding diathesis is not as severe as that of patients with platelet dysfunction syndromes previoulsy described, they do bleed significantly when subjected to trauma following the ingestion of drugs such as aspirin. We propose that this defect is common and should be screened for. The aspirin tolerance test is a simple test for detecting these patients.

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