Heparin is used broadly in cardiac, pulmonary, surgical, and vascular medicine to treat thrombotic disorders with over 500 million doses per year globally. Despite this widespread use, it has a narrow therapeutic window and is one of the top three medication errors. The active partial thromboplastin time (PTT) monitors heparin, but this blood test suffers from long turnaround times, a variable reference range, and limited utility with low molecular weight heparin. Here, we describe an imaging technique that can monitor heparin concentration and activity in real time using photoacoustic spectroscopy via methylene blue as a simple and Federal Drug Agency-approved contrast agent. We found a strong correlation between heparin concentration and photoacoustic signal measured in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) and blood (R2>0.90). Clinically relevant concentrations were detected in blood with a heparin detection limit of 0.28 U/mL and a low molecular weight heparin (enoxaparin) detection limit of 72 μg/mL. We validated this imaging approach by correlation to the PTT (Pearson’s r = 0.86; p<0.05) as well as with protamine sulfate treatment. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to use imaging data to monitor anticoagulation.
Junxin Wang, James Hartanto, and Jesse V. Jokerst, "A photoacoustic tool for therapeutic drug monitoring of heparin (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10064, Photons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2017, 100640L (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 30, 2017; Published: 24 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2249084.5379284470001.
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