Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness and the safety of danaparoid sodium in the treatment of critically ill patients with standard unfractionated heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) or low-molecular-weight HIT.
Setting: University hospital.
Patients and methods: Retrospective analysis of 42 consecutive critically ill patients who were admitted for HIT between October 1992 and February 1997 and were treated either with therapeutic or prophylactic doses of danaparoid sodium.
Results: Among the 26 patients treated with therapeutic doses, neither new thrombotic complications nor thrombosis extension was clinically suspected. Two deaths were directly related to lower limb acute arterial thrombosis associated with HIT. Two major hemorrhagic complications were observed when aspirin in addition to danaparoid sodium was administered. When danaparoid sodium was used in prophylactic doses (20 courses of treatment) to prevent either postsurgical or medical thrombotic complications, no thrombotic event was observed. No death related to HIT or danaparoid sodium treatment was observed. One aggravation of a postsurgical cerebral lesion was observed. During danaparoid sodium treatment, a persistence or a recurrence of thrombocytopenia was observed in 6.5% of patients without thrombotic complications.
Conclusion: Danaparoid sodium appears to be an efficient and safe treatment in critically ill patients with HIT. The concomitant use of aspirin in addition to danaparoid sodium seems to represent an important additional hemorrhagic risk that should be avoided in patient management.