What is Heparin?
Heparin is a naturally occurring anticoagulant, or blood thinner, used to prevent the formation of new blood clots, as well as to prevent the extension of existing clots within the blood. Heparin was discovered in 1916 at Johns Hopkins University and entered clinical trials in 1935, where it has been proven to be a safe and effective blood anticoagulant.1
Fresenius Kabi USA, LLC is assuring a safe supply of heparin to meet the demands of the U.S. Market. For patients undergoing surgery or other treatment in which heparin is supplied, information on heparin is provided throughout this section.
The Clinical Value of Fresenius Kabi USA, LLC's Heparin
Heparin may be used for the following conditions:
- Open Heart Surgery. Heparin is administered when patients go on cardiopulmonary bypass to prevent the blood from clotting when it's in the bypass machine.
- Atrial fibrillation. This heart rhythm disorder often is treated with cardioversion - a brief procedure where an electric shock is delivered to the heart to convert an abnormal rhythm back to a normal rhythm. To prevent potential blood clotting, heparin is routinely administered before cardioversion. Heparin also is used to treat "atrial fibrillation with embolization," in which a clot from the heart travels to another vessel.
- Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) and the prevention of DVT, especially in patients undergoing major abdominal or thoracic surgery. DVT is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein.
- Pulmonary embolism. DVT can lead to a pulmonary embolism, in which the clot is dislodged from the vein and shoots up the arterial blood supply of one of the lungs. Anticoagulation therapy, such as the administration of heparin, is the mainstay of treatment.
- Blood transfusions. Heparin is essential as a blood-clotting inhibitor.
- Dialysis. Heparin is administered just before a patient is connected to the hemodialysis machine to avoid clotting the blood in the dialysis filter.
* Heparin Lock Flush Solution is used to keep the vein open for intermittent injection of infusion therapy, or blood sampling. Must not be used for anticoagulation therapy.
Heparin is given as an injection under your skin (subcutaneous) or intravenously through a needle placed into a vein. It can also be delivered via an IV drip. Injection into the muscle should be avoided.
Before receiving heparin, tell you doctor if you are allergic to pork, or have high blood pressure, an infection involving your heart, hemophilia or other bleeding disorder, a stomach or intestinal disorder, liver disorder, or if you are on your menstrual period. Heparin should not be used if you are actively bleeding or have a low platelet count. Certain medicines can increase your risk of bleeding while you are using heparin. These include aspirin and other NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications including vitamins, minerals and herbal products. Side effects may include bleeding, irritation at the injection site, and hypersensitivity (chills, fever, rash, etc.).2
To be sure heparin is helping your condition, your blood may need to be tested on a regular basis. Your stools may also need to be checked for blood.
1 Source: Health Heritage Research Services
2 Source: Drugs.com (Cerner Multum, Inc.)