Bivalirudin for the treatment of patients with confirmed or suspected heparin-induced thrombocytopenia

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Abstract

Background:

Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is an adverse immune-mediated response to unfractionated heparin and, less commonly, low molecular weight heparin. It is associated with a high thrombotic risk and the potential for limb and life-threatening complications. Argatroban is the only approved and currently available anticoagulant for HIT treatment in the USA.

Objectives:

To report safety and efficacy outcomes with bivalirudin for HIT treatment.

Methods:

We retrospectively examined records from our registry of patients with a suspected, confirmed or previous history of HIT and who had received bivalirudin for anticoagulation in a single tertiary-care center over a 9-year period.

Results:

We identified 461 patients who received bivalirudin: 220 (47.7%) were surgical patients, and 241 (52.3%) were medical patients. Of this population, 107 (23.2%) were critically ill, and 109 (23.6%) were dialysis-dependent. Suspected, confirmed and previous history of HIT were reported in 262, 124 and 75 patients, respectively. Of 386 patients with suspected or confirmed HIT, 223 patients (57.8%) had thrombosis at HIT diagnosis. New thrombosis was identified in 21 patients (4.6%) while they were on treatment with therapeutic doses of bivalirudin. No patient required HIT-related amputation. Major bleeding occurred in 35 patients (7.6%). We found a significant increase in major bleeding risk in the critically ill population (13.1%; odds ratio 2.4, 95% confidence interval 1.2–4.9, P = 0.014). The 30-day all-cause mortality rate was 14.5% (67 patients), and eight of 67 (1.7%) deaths were HIT-related.

Conclusion:

Bivalirudin may be an effective and safe alternative option for the treatment of both suspected and confirmed HIT, and appears to reduce the rate of HIT-related amputation.

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