Author(s): Warkentin TE, Greinacher A
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Abstract Unfractionated heparin given during cardiopulmonary bypass is remarkably immunogenic, as 25\% to 50\% of postcardiac surgery patients develop heparin-dependent antibodies during the next 5 to 10 days. Sometimes, these antibodies strongly activate platelets and coagulation, thereby causing the prothrombotic disorder, heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. The risk of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia is 1\% to 3\% if unfractionated heparin is continued beyond the first postoperative week. When cardiac surgery is urgently needed for a patient with acute or subacute heparin-induced thrombocytopenia, options include an alternative anticoagulant (bivalirudin, lepirudin, or danaparoid) or combining unfractionated heparin with a platelet antagonist (epoprostenol or tirofiban). As heparin-induced thrombocytopenia antibodies are transient, unfractionated heparin alone is appropriate in a patient with previous heparin-induced thrombocytopenia whose antibodies have disappeared.
This article was published in Ann Thorac Surg
and referenced in Journal of Hematology & Thromboembolic Diseases