Physicians' Use of Heparin Following Thrombolytic Therapy: An International Perspective.
Background: The current prevalence, timing, and route of heparin use after thrombolytic therapy for acute myocardial infarction both within and outside the United States (U.S.) have not been extensively studied. Method: An 18-item questionnaire was mailed to cardiologists and emergency medicine practitioners in the U.S. and to physicians in 5 countries considering participation in an international trial of thrombolytic therapy. Results: Almost all used some form of heparin after recombinant tissue-plasminogen activator; 8% withheld heparin after streptokinase. Non-U.S. physicians used subcutaneous heparin more frequently than did U.S. physicians (26% vs. 4%). Time to heparin initiation varied greatly. Most physicians used the activated partial thromboplastin time to monitor anticoagulation, although there was little consensus about the appropriate way to determine the efficacy of heparin therapy. Conclusions: This survey shows considerable disagreement about the preferred administration of heparin among physicians treating patients with myocardial infarction. This lack of agreement reflects uncertainty about how heparin therapy should be used. When the results of well-designed clinical trials examining the optimal dosing, timing, and monitoring of heparin therapy have been published, perhaps the clinical community can reach a consensus.
Berdan, LG; Kleiman, NS; Woodlief, LH; Harrington, RA; Granger, CB; Califf, RM
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