Predictive value of the 4Ts scoring system for heparin-induced thrombocytopenia: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Adam Cuker, Phyllis A. Gimotty, Mark A. Crowther and Theodore E. Warkentin


The 4Ts is a pretest clinical scoring system for heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT). Though widely used in clinical practice, its predictive value for HIT in diverse settings and patient populations is unknown. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the predictive value of the 4Ts in patients with suspected HIT. We searched PubMed, Cochrane Database, and ISI Web of Science for studies that included patients with suspected HIT, who were evaluated by both the 4Ts and a reference standard against which the 4Ts could be compared. Quality of eligible studies was assessed by QUADAS-2 criteria. Thirteen studies, collectively involving 3068 patients, fulfilled eligibility criteria. 1712 (55.8%) patients were classified by 4Ts score as having a low probability of HIT. The negative predictive value of a low probability 4Ts score was 0.998 (95% CI 0.970-1.000) and remained high irrespective of the party responsible for scoring, the prevalence of HIT, or the composition of the study population. The positive predictive value of an intermediate and high probability 4Ts score was 0.14 (0.09-0.22) and 0.64 (0.40-0.82), respectively. A low probability 4Ts score appears to be a robust means of excluding HIT. Patients with intermediate and high probability scores require further evaluation.

  • Submitted July 13, 2012.
  • Accepted September 11, 2012.