A population-based study of an Italian genetic isolate reveals that mean platelet volume is not a risk factor for thrombosis

Ginevra Biino, Laura Portas, Federico Murgia, Simona Vaccargiu, Debora Parracciani, Mario Pirastu, Carlo L. Balduini

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Introduction: Several studies revealed that mean platelet volume (MPV) was larger in the acute phase of arterial and venous thrombosis and predicted a poor clinical outcome. It has been suggested that MPV is a risk factor for thrombosis. However, it is unclear whether increased platelet size is a cause or a consequence of thrombosis. It was the objective of this study to verify whether MPV is a risk factor for arterial and venous thrombosis. Methods: We search for associations between platelet parameters and thrombosis by a population-based study in 11,084 inhabitants of an Italian genetic isolate characterized by wide variability of platelet parameters. To validate this methodology of investigation, we also evaluated whether it was able to identify several well known thrombotic risk factors in the study population. Results: Statistical analysis confirmed that male gender, ageing, hypertension, high total cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and smoking were risk factors for arterial thrombosis, while alcohol consumption had a protective effect. Female gender, ageing, pregnancy, estroprogestinic treatment, obesity, varicose veins were associated with venous thrombosis. At variance, MPV and platelet count were unrelated to previous thrombotic events. However, MPV was negatively correlated with the time since the last thrombotic event. Conclusions: This study indicated that an epidemiologic study of a population isolate is appropriate for the identification of thrombotic risk factors, but it failed to identify such a role for MPV. Thus, we suggest that the increased MPV previously described in subjects with acute thrombosis was a consequence instead of a cause of thrombosis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThrombosis Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • arterial thrombosis
  • Epidemiologic study
  • mean platelet volume
  • risk factors
  • venous thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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