Heparin is a component of many anticoagulants, including those sold without a prescription. Check how heparin works and when it is given. What precautions should you take while taking heparin?
Heparin is produced in the body in mast cells ( e.g. in the liver, heart, lungs or intestines) and has anti-clotting properties. It was introduced to medicine in 1938.
Heparin is used in the form of gels and cutaneous aerosols or administered intravenously and subcutaneously. In intravenous and subcutaneous preparations (pre-filled syringes) these are low molecular weight fractionated heparins. They are served, among other patients in the perioperative period, immobilized due to trauma, during hemodialysis and in the treatment and prevention of venous thromboembolism.
Gels and aerosols for use on the skin are used as an adjunct in the treatment of superficial thrombophlebitis, varicose veins of the lower extremities, subcutaneous hematomas, contusions and swelling.
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Table of Contents
- Advantages of heparin
- Disadvantages of heparin
- Heparin: contraindications
- Coagulogram blood clotting test
Advantages of heparin
Heparin, in addition to inhibiting blood coagulation, has a multidirectional effect on our body, which is why it is eagerly used by specialists in many fields of medicine.
It has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, immunosuppressive, anti-psoriatic and hypolipemic (reduces blood cholesterol ) levels. It can be administered to the patient in the form of solutions (intravenous infusions, pre-filled syringes for subcutaneous injections) or applied to the skin as a gel and aerosol. Administered in the form of oral tablets, it is not absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.
Currently, most prescription preparations contain low molecular weight heparins instead of unfractionated heparins. This is due to their better bioavailability, the ability to control the anticoagulant effect depending on the dose, as well as greater safety of use.
Disadvantages of heparin
Like all medicines, heparin can have side effects. The most commonly occurring when using cutaneous preparations are allergic reactions in the form of urticaria, itching or erythema. Too long use can lead to skin necrosis.
Much more serious complications can occur when taking preparations prescribed by a doctor. These include bleeding, thrombocytopenia, and skin necrosis at the injection site. With longer therapy, there is a risk of osteoporosis and consequent bone fractures.
Absolutely heparins should not be used by people with bleeding diathesis, suffering from gastric and duodenal ulcer disease, gastrointestinal cancer or ulcerative colitis. Medical consultation should be sought for advanced retinopathy, severe liver or kidney failure or acute pancreatitis and in epilepsy.
Pregnant women can use heparin only if the potential benefits of using this drug are greater than the potential risk to the fetus (risk of miscarriage).
Heparin must not be taken concomitantly with preparations containing acetylsalicylic acid. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, formulations inhibiting aggregation (aggregation) of blood platelets and anticoagulant from the group of coumarin can enhance its performance. Any uncontrolled or sudden bleeding, e.g. from the nose or digestive tract, is an indication for discontinuation of the drug.
The coagulogram is a blood clotting test
The coagulogram is a blood test to assess its clotting. The coagulogram is one of the mandatory tests ordered before surgery, however, indications for its implementation are also gastrointestinal bleeding or very heavy menstruation. Check-in which cases the coagulogram should be done, what is the examination and how to read its results.
A coagulogram is a blood test that measures the number of platelets (thrombocytes) responsible for its clotting. Normal platelet counts range from 150 to 400,000 / mm³ of blood. A platelet count above 400,000 / mm³ blood means thrombocytopenia (thrombocytosis). Excessive platelets in the blood make them stick together more easily. As a result, blood clots can form that clog the blood vessels. On the other hand, low thrombocyte levels (below 150,000 / mm³) usually cause numerous bleeding. Then we talk about thrombocytopenia.
Coagulogram – indications for performing the test
The coagulogram is one of the mandatory tests ordered before surgery. They are also performed when there is a reasonable suspicion of a blood clotting disorder, which is indicated by:
- prolonged bleeding after a wound
- repeated bleeding from the nose, gums (e.g. when brushing your teeth) or digestive tract
- too heavy menstrual periods or extra menstrual bleeding
- bruises that appear even after a slight injury
- appearing ecchymosis on the skin and mucous membranes
A coagulation test is also performed if you suspect that you have liver disease, or if you are taking medicines that can prolong the clotting process.
In addition, a coagulogram is performed on people undergoing anticoagulant therapy (including heart and blood vessel surgery, with some cardiac arrhythmias, suffering from venous thromboembolism ).