Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia: Principles for early recognition and management

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Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is a potentially devastating complication of therapy with either unfractionated or low-molecular-weight heparin. Thrombocytopenia is no longer essential for the diagnosis of HIT, since a 50% drop in the platelet count may be a more specific indicator. Once HIT is clinically suspected, heparin should be stopped immediately and direct thrombin inhibitor therapy started; waiting for laboratory confirmation may be catastrophic.


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