Mosaic of blood clot created via iPAC. (Credit: Yuqi Zhou).

A new tool using cutting-edge technology is able to distinguish different types of blood clots based on what caused them. The tool could help physicians diagnose what caused a blood clot and help them select a treatment that targets the cause to break it up. For example, it could help them determine if aspirin or another kind of anti-clotting drug would be the best choice for a person who has just had a heart attack or stroke.

To develop a more effective approach to identifying different types of blood clots, Zhou and her colleagues took blood samples from healthy individuals and then exposed them to different clotting agents. The team captured thousands of images of the different types of clots using a technique called high-throughput imaging flow cytometry.

They tested whether this new tool, which they named the intelligent platelet aggregate classifier (iPAC), could diagnose different clot types in human blood samples. The researchers showed that iPAC is a powerful tool for studying the underlying mechanism of clot formation. The tool may uncover the characteristics of different types of clots that were previously unrecognized by humans and enable the diagnosis of clots caused by combinations of clotting agents.

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