Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is an adverse drug reaction occurring in up to 5% of patients exposed to unfractionated heparin (UFH). We examined the impact of a hospital-wide strategy for avoiding heparin on the incidence of HIT, HIT with thrombosis (HITT), and HIT-related costs. The Avoid-Heparin Initiative, implemented at a tertiary care hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, since 2006, involved replacing UFH with low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) for prophylactic and therapeutic indications. Consecutive cases with suspected HIT from 2003 through 2012 were reviewed. Rates of suspected HIT, adjudicated HIT, and HITT, along with HIT-related expenditures were compared in the pre-intervention (2003-2005) and the avoid-heparin (2007-2012) phases. The annual rate of suspected HIT decreased 42%, from 85.5 per 10 000 admissions in the pre-intervention phase to 49.0 per 10 000 admissions in the avoid-heparin phase ( ITALIC! P< .001). The annual rate of patients with a positive HIT assay decreased 63% from 16.5 to 6.1 per 10 000 admissions ( ITALIC! P< .001), adjudicated HIT decreased 79% from 10.7 to 2.2 per 10 000 admissions ( ITALIC! P< .001), and HITT decreased 91% from 4.6 to 0.4 per 10 000 admissions ( ITALIC! P< .001). Hospital HIT-related expenditures decreased by $266 938 per year in the avoid-heparin phase. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study demonstrating the success and feasibility of a hospital-wide HIT prevention strategy.
© 2016 by The American Society of Hematology.