Heparin-induced thrombocytopaenia (HIT) is a severe and potentially life-threatening adverse drug reaction. Patients become extremely hypercoagulable, and this can lead to life-threatening and limb-threatening thrombosis with a mortality of 5%-10%. HIT is an antibody-mediated process in which platelet activation occurs. Diagnosis requires a high index of suspicion along with a scoring system and laboratory testing. Patients suspected of having HIT must not receive any further heparin or low-molecular weight heparin and must be started on an alternative anticoagulant such as argatroban or danaparoid. Fondaparinux may also be considered but is not licenced for this indication.
Keywords: anticoagulation; haematology; immunology.
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