Successful kidney transplantation normalizes platelet function
Uraemic platelet dysfunction is not completely understood, in part due to non-physiological platelet function assays. We have developed a physiological flow-based assay that quantifies platelet function in microlitre volumes of blood under arterial shear. The aim of this study was to characterize platelet function before and after kidney transplantation.
Ten patients scheduled for living donor kidney transplant surgery and nine healthy controls were analysed using the assay. The motional parameters of platelet behaviour on von Willebrand factor (VWF) were recorded using customized platelet tracking software. The assay was repeated 3–8 weeks post-transplant in the transplant group and at an interval of >3 weeks in normal healthy volunteers.
Platelet–VWF interactions were markedly reduced in the 10 pre-transplant patients compared with the healthy controls. In seven patients with immediate graft function, dynamic platelet function returned to normal (despite a small decrease in haemoglobin and haematocrit), but remained markedly abnormal in the three patients with delayed graft function (DGF).
Dynamic platelet function returned to normal following transplantation in those with immediate graft function. This early improvement was not observed in those with DGF. There may be important clinical implications, as patients with DGF are more likely to undergo invasive procedures, including transplant biopsies and insertion of central venous catheters.