Evaluation of a pharmacy managed heparin protocol for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation patients

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



Unfractionated heparin is the preferred anticoagulant in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) patients. However, there is a lack of consensus on its titration and monitoring. The objective of this study was to describe the efficacy and safety of a pharmacy managed heparin protocol utilizing activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) in comparison to our standard physician-managed activated clotting time (ACT)-based anticoagulation in ECMO patients.


Patients administered a heparin drip while on ECMO were included in the study. The primary endpoints were the incidence of hemorrhagic and thrombotic complications.


A total of 122 adult patients were identified who were on ECMO with heparin anticoagulation; sixty-one patients were managed with each of the physician-managed ACT and pharmacy managed aPTT protocols. No statistically significant difference was observed between the physician ACT and the pharmacy aPTT groups in overall hemorrhagic (69% vs 80%, p=0.145) or thrombotic complications (41% vs 39%, p=0.853).


There was a similar rate of thrombotic and bleeding events between the two study groups. A pharmacy managed heparin protocol utilizing aPTT monitoring appears to be a safe and effective method of providing anticoagulation in adult ECMO patients.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles