Endogenous heparin levels in the controlled asthmatic patient
Background. Since heparin possesses anti-inflammatory properties, it is hypothesised that asthmatic patients have decreased levels of circulating heparin compared with healthy individuals.
Design. We compared endogenous heparin levels in controlled asthmatic patients (53 adults) from the Asthma Clinic at Johannesburg General Hospital with those of healthy controls (26 adults) from the general population. Heparin levels in the blood samples were tested using the Chromogenix Coatest Heparin kit.
Result. The blood of the patients contained significantly lower levels of endogenous heparin compared with that of the healthy individuals, indicating that the anti-inflammatory properties afforded by heparin are absent in these patients.
S Afr Med J 2010; 100: 307-308.