Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia

  • Carmel A. Celestin
  • John R. Bartholomew
Part of the Biotechnology: Pharmaceutical Aspects book series (PHARMASP, volume VIII)


Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is a devastating complication of either unfractionated heparin or any of the low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) preparations. This immune-mediated process generally develops within 5–14 days of administration, although it may occur more rapidly if there has been a recent exposure, or even days to weeks after either preparation has been discontinued. Although once considered necessary for the diagnosis of HIT, thrombocytopenia is no longer essential. A 50 reduction in the platelet count from pre-heparin treatment levels is now considered a more specific finding. Immediate cessation of heparin or LMWH is recommended once the diagnosis is suspected and alternative therapy with a non-heparin anticoagulant advised due to the potential for new thrombosis, amputation or even death.


International Normalize Ratio Disseminate Intravascular Coagulation Unfractionated Heparin Activate Clotting Time Direct Thrombin Inhibitor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carmel A. Celestin
  • John R. Bartholomew

There are no affiliations available

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