Antiplatelet therapy in pediatric cardiovascular patients.
Platelets play a critical role in normal physiologic processes such as hemostasis, wound healing, inflammation, and innate immunity. However, they also play a role in the pathologic process of thrombosis. Although antiplatelet therapy is most commonly used to prevent thrombotic events for adults with atherosclerotic vascular disease, children with certain types of congenital heart disease, stroke, and Kawasaki disease also are at risk for thrombosis and may benefit from antiplatelet therapy. Unfortunately, very little data on the efficacy and safety of antiplatelet therapy for pediatric patients are available. As a consequence, consistent clinical practice among pediatric practitioners is lacking. Furthermore, much of what is practiced results from extrapolation from adult studies, which may be problematic because many aspects of platelet biology differ between children and adults. This review discusses aspects of antiplatelet therapy for pediatric patients.
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