The emergency use of recombinant hirudin in cardiopulmonary bypass

N. Johnston, Michael E Jessen, M. DiMaio, D. S. Douglass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The most common anticoagulant used for cardiopumonary bypass is heparin. An alternate form of anticoagulant therapy is needed for patients who have immune-mediated heparin-associated thrombocytopenia (HIT). Thrombocytopenia causes bleeding and may lead to serious arterial and venous thrombosis. HIT or heparin-induced thrombocytopenia with thrombosis type II (HITT) are both described as adverse reactions to heparin. They are diagnosed with a platelet count less than a 100,000/mcl for 2 consecutive days. HITT, the severe form, is characterized with the thrombocytopenia in combination with thromboembolic complications, such as strokes, myocardial infarctions, and limb ischemia. Two cases are presented in which r-hirudin was used for anticoagulation for aortocoronary bypass surgery and mitral valve replacement. The activated partial prothrombin time (aPTT) was used to monitor coagulation. In the first case, the aPTT was maintained greater than 100 seconds, and at the termination of cardiopulmonary bypass, some clot was noted in the cardiopulmonary bypass circuit. In the second case, a longer cardiopulmonary bypass run was anticipated, the hirudin bolus and infusion rate were increased, and the aPTT was maintained at greater than 200 sec. Adequate coagulation resulted, and, at the end of bypass, no clot was noted. These case studies seem to suggest a higher dosage of r-hirudin may be required for the use of cardiopulmonary bypass and a need to maintain aPTT values greater than 200 sec to help monitor anticoagulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-215
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Extra-Corporeal Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999


  • Cardiopulmonary bypass
  • Plasma-based ecarin clotting time
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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