Author(s): Sonawane S, Kasbekar N, Berns JS
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Abstract In patients on chronic dialysis, unfractionated heparin (UFH) is the most commonly used agent for anticoagulation of the hemodialysis extracorporeal circuit, for hemodialysis catheter "locking" between dialysis treatments, and for nondialysis indications such as venous thromboembolic disease, peripheral vascular disease, and acute coronary artery disease. Potentially serious complications of UFH, such as hemorrhage, osteoporosis, and thrombocytopenia, have led to consideration of other options for anticoagulation, including low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) and direct thrombin inhibitors (DTIs). LMWH can be used for anticoagulation of the hemodialysis circuit, but whether this has significant benefit compared to UFH remains to be proven. Because of the somewhat unpredictable risk of severe bleeding complications when LMWH is used for other indications in dialysis patients, UFH rather than LMWH is preferred for treatment of thromboembolic disease in these patients. DTIs have been used for anticoagulation in dialysis patients with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), with argatroban being the preferred agent if heparin-free hemodialysis cannot be performed. UFH still remains the preferred anticoagulant in the vast majority of dialysis patients requiring systemic anticoagulation and for anticoagulation of the extracorporeal hemodialysis circuit.
This article was published in Semin Dial
and referenced in Journal of Blood Disorders & Transfusion