Coagulation factor VIII, von Willebrand factor, antithrombin, fibrinogen, plasminogen activator capacity, and inhibitors of fibrinolysis, including a recently discovered fast inhibitor of tissue plasminogen activator, were measured three to six months after myocardial infarction in 116 male and 32 female patients aged less than 45 and in 136 age and sex matched random controls. Plasma concentrations of fibrinogen and the fast inhibitor of tissue plasminogen activator were raised in male patients (with or without correction for orosomucoid levels, blood group distribution, tobacco and alcohol consumption, and weight/height index) and plasminogen activator capacity was reduced. In female patients the concentrations of factor VIII, von Willebrand factor, the fast inhibitor of tissue plasminogen activator, alpha 2-antiplasmin, and C1 inhibitor were significantly increased. The increase in factor VIII concentrations depended strongly on a persisting inflammatory response. Multivariate analysis indicated that a combination of fibrinogen and tissue plasminogen activator inhibitor concentrations gave the best independent discrimination between male patients and controls. For female patients the best combination was von Willebrand factor and tissue plasminogen activator inhibitor. Male patients with multiple vessel atheromatosis at coronary angiography had higher fibrinogen concentrations than those with atheromatosis of a single vessel. Atheromatosis was defined as sharp-edged, plaque-like, or irregular indentations, often multiple, into the vessel lumen without features suggesting fibromuscular hyperplasia.
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