Sticky Platelet Syndrome: History and Future Perspectives*

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Abstract

The sticky platelet syndrome (SPS) is a thrombophilic qualitative platelet disorder with familial occurrence and autosomal dominant trait, characterized by increased in vitro platelet aggregation after low concentrations of adenosine diphosphate and/or epinephrine. Its clinical manifestation includes arterial thrombosis, pregnancy complications (fetal growth retardation and fetal loss), and less often venous thromboembolism. SPS was considered to be a rare thrombophilic disorder, but it can be found relatively often as a cause of unexplained thrombosis, particularly among patients with arterial thrombosis such as stroke. The syndrome was recognized as a distinct disorder in 1983 by Holiday and further characterized in the 1980s and 1990s, with Mammen and Bick providing the key findings. Although recognized for more than 30 years, significant issues, namely the syndrome's etiology, inheritance, and epidemiology, remain unclear. The aim of the first part of this review is to summarize the previous 35 years of the research into, and to provide a brief historical account of, SPS. The history section is focused particularly on the work of two most prominent investigators: Eberhard F. Mammen and Rodger L. Bick. The second part summarizes the present understanding of the syndrome and outlines unresolved issues and the trends in which the future research is likely to continue.

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