The "white clot syndrome" may be manifestation of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) encountered by a surgeon following pre-operative or intra-operative administration of heparin.
Clinical features of the white clot syndrome:
(1) The patient has a history of heparin administration prior to or during surgery.
(2) Usually the patient is having cardiac or vascular surgery. Often the patient is having an acute thromboembolectomy for a thrombus caused by HIT.
(3) The surgeon notices the appearance of intra-arterial white-colored clots.
(4) The clots are platelet-rich.
(5) The patient may show signs of thrombocytopenia and/or DIC.
(6) Testing of pre-operative and/or intra-operative blood samples will show anti-heparin antibodies.
Differential diagnosis: Causes of pseudo-HIT (sepsis, antiphospholipid antibody, PNH, DIC from another cause, etc.) need to be excluded.
Prompt recognition is important since the patient needs to be switched to an alternative anticoagulant.
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Specialty: Hematology Oncology, Clinical Laboratory, Clinical Pharmacology, Critical Care, Immunology/Rheumatology