Platelet testing to guide aspirin dose adjustment in pediatric patients after cardiac surgery

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Thrombosis is associated with increased morbidity and mortality in pediatric patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Although aspirin commonly is used for thromboprophylaxis, the utility of laboratory-based tests that assess aspirin efficacy have not been evaluated. We sought to determine the relationship between platelet aggregation testing and aspirin dose adjustment on thrombosis rates in this population.


Pediatric patients undergoing cardiac surgery who received aspirin and underwent platelet testing were studied retrospectively. Patients were excluded if they were treated with multiple agents or experienced thrombosis before the initiation of aspirin. Thrombosis events within 30 days after initiation of aspirin were recorded. Associations between aspirin responsiveness and thrombosis rate and aspirin dose adjustment and thrombosis rate were assessed with the use of multivariable logistic regression analysis.


Suboptimal platelet response to aspirin was detected in 64 of 430 patients (15%) and thrombosis was detected in 11 patients (2.6%). Lack of aspirin responsiveness on initial testing was a significant risk factor for thrombosis (P < .001) independent of age, weight, diagnosis, and initial aspirin dose. Dose escalation based on aspirin testing was performed in 40 of 64 patients, and significantly lower rate of thrombosis was observed in patients who underwent dose escalation compared with those without dose escalation (0/40 vs 9/24, P < .001). By multivariable analysis, the only significant independent risk factor for thrombosis was failure to increase aspirin dose after initial unresponsiveness (P < .001).


Current practice of weight-based aspirin dosing may lead to subtherapeutic platelet inhibition in some children. Aspirin unresponsiveness is associated with increased risk of thrombosis after specific pediatric cardiac surgical procedures. Aspirin dose increase in unresponsive patients is associated with reduced risk of thrombosis.

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