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