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Ticagrelor improves blood viscosity-dependent microcirculatory flow in patients with lower extremity arterial disease: the Hema-kinesis clinical trial



Microvascular blood flow (MBF) impairment in patients with lower extremity arterial disease (LEAD) is associated with more severe major adverse limb events (MALE). The contribution of ticagrelor, a P2Y12 antagonist and an adenosine enhancer, on blood viscosity (BV) and BV-dependent MBF in LEAD is unknown. The aim of the trial is to investigate the effects of ticagrelor on BV, and explore the association of BV-dependent MBF in participants with LEAD and type 2 diabetes (T2DM).


Randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, crossover trial design that compares treatment with aspirin 81 mg/ticagrelor placebo, aspirin 81 mg/ticagrelor 90 mg twice daily and aspirin placebo/ticagrelor 90 mg twice daily on high-shear (300 s-1) and low-shear (5 s-1) BV, and laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF) in the dorsum of the feet of participants with T2DM.


We randomized 70 (45% female) participants aged (mean ± SD) 72 ± 9 years. The duration of LEAD was 12.3 ± 10.3 years, and 96.9% reported intermittent claudication symptoms. Use of statins was 93% (high-intensity 43%, moderate intensity 49%), renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors (75%) and beta-blockers (61%). Treatment with ticagrelor with or without aspirin reduced high-shear BV by 5%, in both cases, while aspirin monotherapy increased high-shear BV by 3.4% (p < 0.0001). Ticagrelor with or without aspirin reduced low-shear BV by 14.2% and 13.9% respectively, while aspirin monotherapy increased low-shear BV by 9.3% (p < 0.0001). The combination of ticagrelor and aspirin increased MBF in the left foot compared to the other two treatments (p = 0.02), but not in the right foot (p = 0.25).


Ticagrelor should be considered in the treatment of microvascular disease in patients with LEAD and T2DM. Trial registration Registration number: NCT02325466, registration date: December 25, 2014.

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