Platelet nitric oxide responsiveness: A novel prognostic marker in acute coronary syndromes

Scott R. Willoughby, Simon Stewart, Andrew S. Holmes, Yuliy Y. Chirkov, John D. Horowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives - Nitric oxide (NO) is critically important in the regulation of vascular tone and the inhibition of platelet aggregation. We have shown previously that patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) or stable angina pectoris have impaired platelet responses to NO donors when compared with normal subjects. We tested the hypotheses that platelet hyporesponsiveness to NO is a predictor of (1) cardiovascular readmission and/or death and (2) all-cause mortality in patients with ACS (unstable angina pectoris or non-Q-wave myocardial infarction). Methods and Results - Patients (n=51) with ACS had evaluation of platelet aggregation within 24 hours of coronary care unit admission using impedance aggregometry. Patients were categorized as having "normal" (≥32% inhibition of ADP-induced aggregation with the NO donor sodium nitroprusside; 10 μmol/L; n=18) or "impaired" (<32% inhibition of ADP-induced aggregation; n=33) NO responses. We then compared the incidence of cardiovascular readmission and death during a median of 7 years of follow-up in these 2 groups. Using a Cox proportional hazards model adjusting for age, sex, index event, postdischarge medical treatment, revascularization status, left ventricular systolic dysfunction, concurrent disease states, and cardiac risk factors, impaired NO responsiveness was associated with an increased risk of the combination of cardiovascular readmission and/or death (relative risk, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.03 to 7.10; P=0.041) and all-cause mortality (relative risk, 6.3; 95% CI, 1.09 to 36.7; P=0.033). Conclusions - Impaired platelet NO responsiveness is a novel, independent predictor of increased mortality and cardiovascular morbidity in patients with high-risk ACS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2661-2666
Number of pages6
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute coronary syndrome
  • Nitric oxide
  • Nitric oxide resistance
  • Platelets


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