Sildenafil To Prevent Clot (SToPClot)

  • End date
    Aug 30, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Montefiore Medical Center
Updated on 3 February 2022
heart failure
platelet aggregation
blood clot
sickle cell anemia


The advent of continuous flow (CF) pumps for patients with severe heart failure has led to marked improvements in survival; however, pump operation remains fraught with adverse thrombotic events. This climbing rate of thrombosis and stroke during CF pump support has led to a recent warning by the US Food and Drug Administration. Despite a rising incidence of pump thrombosis and its downstream complications of stroke, the hematologic mechanisms behind these devastating adverse events remain uncertain. Recently, it has been recognized that CF pump induced hemolysis precedes and is associated with thrombosis. In-vitro studies show increased platelet function with exposure to products of hemolysis, which is also known to occur in diseases of intravascular hemolysis such as sickle cell anemia. This proposal will investigate if hemolysis associated increased platelet function can be reduced by a potentiation of nitric oxide signaling by an oral phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor, sildenafil. Elucidating mechanisms of hemolysis induced thrombosis may inform best strategies for prevention of end organ damage and maintaining optimal CF pump operation.


Despite the remarkable improvements in survival with durable continuous flow (CF) pumps and the clear lifesaving effects of Impella and veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA ECMO), serious adverse hematological events such as bleeding and thrombosis create substantial morbidity and mortality and remain major barriers for further expansion of this technology. In particular, thrombosis is a devastating adverse event during CF pump support as it can lead to stroke, device stoppage, and hemodynamic collapse. Although the annual incidence of pump thrombosis has been reported to range from 8 to nearly 30%, the pathobiological mechanisms of thrombus formation during CF pump support with ongoing anticoagulation remain elusive. Our preliminary data associates hemolysis, which is inherent to such devices due to high shear stress, with subsequent formation of thrombosis and stroke, possibly through increasing platelet activation and aggregation. Our prelim data and drawing from a body of literature from diseases of intravascular hemolysis such as sickle cell anemia suggest that free hemoglobin released during hemolysis, which reduces NO levels, may be activating platelets. In retrospective analysis, we have noted a significant reduction in mean platelet volume (potential in-vivo marker of platelet activation), thrombosis and stroke with concurrent sildenafil administration. However, this mechanism and efficacy of NO signaling enhancers such as sildenafil remains to be proven during CF pump support.

Aim: To conduct a randomized placebo controlled study to test the hypothesis that platelet activation and aggregation, endothelial dysfunction and pro-thrombotic inflammation in outpatients on chronic CF pump support can be reduced by sildenafil.

Condition Thrombosis, Hemolysis
Treatment Sildenafil, Placebo Oral Tablet
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03199612
SponsorMontefiore Medical Center
Last Modified on3 February 2022


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