The prompt reduction of elevated fibrinopeptide A (FPA) levels (normal less than 1.3 pmole/ml) by heparin therapy in patients with thromboembolism suggests that measuring the FPA level may provide a good index of disease activity and be a useful method of monitoring therapy. Sepsis or malignancy may elevate FPA levels and coexist with thromboembolism. FPA levels were surveyed in 51 patients with thromboembolism (including 15 with concurrent sepsis or malignancy) during heparin treatment in an attempt to distinguish the effects of coexistent disease and the progression of thromboembolism. The anticoagulant effect of heparin was within the therapeutic range for 81% of the study period. In patients with thromboembolism alone and marked resolution of emboli on repeat lung scan, the mean daily FPA levels were lower than the values in patients with minimal resolution (p less than 0.005). In patients with marked resolution of pulmonary embolism or venous thrombosis and a concurrent disorder, the mean FPA level remained elevated compared to normal values in patients with thromboembolism alone. These results suggest that FPA levels monitored during heparin therapy of thromboembolism may be useful as an index of disease activity except in the presence of coexisting sepsis or malignancy.

This content is only available as a PDF.