Diagnosis and management of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia.
Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is a prothrombotic disorder caused by antibodies to platelet factor 4/heparin (PF4/H) complexes. It presents with declining platelet counts 5 to 14 days after heparin administration and results in a predisposition to arterial and venous thrombosis. Establishing the diagnosis of HIT can be extremely challenging. It is essential to conduct a thorough clinical evaluation in addition to laboratory testing to confirm the presence of PF4/H antibodies. Multiple clinical algorithms have been developed to aid the clinician in predicting the likelihood of HIT. Once HIT is recognized, an alternative anticoagulant should be initiated to prevent further complications.
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