Use of an argatroban-based purge solution in a percutaneous ventricular assist device

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Abstract

Purpose

The use of an argatroban-based percutaneous ventricular assist device (pVAD) purge solution in a patient with suspected heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is described.

Summary

A 70-year-old woman in cardiogenic shock was admitted to a coronary care unit after being discovered unresponsive at home. A transthoracic echocardiogram revealed a low ejection fraction and findings consistent with takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Administration of multiple inotropes and vasopressors was initially required for hemodynamic support. The patient was implanted with an Impella pVAD (Abiomed, Inc., Danvers, MA) using a heparin-based purge solution; an i.v. heparin infusion was initiated for supplemental systemic anticoagulation. Over the next 24 hours, the patient's platelet count decreased from 168,000 to 37,000 cells/μL. Given a differential diagnosis that included HIT, the patient was transitioned to an argatroban-based purge solution. Due to prolonged activated partial thromboplastin times, a systemic argatroban infusion was not initiated, and the patient remained fully anticoagulated throughout pVAD support with only the argatroban-based purge solution. An HIT antibody test was negative. On hospitalization day 9 (day 6 of pVAD support with argatroban use), the patient became hemodynamically stable and was weaned off pVAD support. Three days later, the platelet count had recovered to 117,000 cells/μL (from a nadir of 21,000 cells/μL). During pVAD support, the patient developed hemolytic anemia with minimal bleeding complications.

Conclusion

Argatroban was used as a purge solution anticoagulant in a patient with an Impella pVAD and found to be a safe and effective alternative to heparin.

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