Ecarin Chromogenic Assay – A New Method for Quantitative Determination of Direct Thrombin Inhibitors Like HirudinLange U.a · Nowak G.b · Bucha E.a
aHaemoSys GmbH and bResearch Unit ‘Pharmacological Hemostaseology’, Medical Faculty, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany
Dr. Ute Lange
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DE–07745 Jena (Germany)
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A new sensitive and precise method for quantitative determination of direct thrombin inhibitors is described, the ecarin chromogenic assay (ECA). Ecarin is used as the specific prothrombin-activating principle. The cleavage of a chromogenic substrate by meizothrombin is inhibited in a concentration-dependent fashion by direct thrombin inhibitors. For the ECA, the linear measuring range is about 0.1–3.0 µg hirudin/ml plasma. Coefficients of variations between 2.3 and 4% over the whole concentration range were achieved. The ECA has proved to be more sensitive than the compared tests (ecarin clotting time and a thrombin-based chromogenic assay); a detection limit of 0.011 µg hirudin/ml and a quantitation limit of 0.032 µg hirudin/ml were calculated. The ECA is independent of the variations of the coagulation variables fibrinogen and prothrombin. Neither heparin nor oral anticoagulants interfere with the ECA.
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