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J Extra Corpor Technol. 2001 May;33(2):117-25.

Use of ecarin clotting time (ECT) with lepirudin therapy in heparin-induced thrombocytopenia and cardiopulmonary bypass.

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  • 1UPMC Presbyterian Perfusion Services Department, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is described as an allergy-like adverse reaction to heparin. It is a potentially severe complication of heparin therapy that can result in serious or life-threatening venous or arterial thromboembolic events. In the United States, lepirudin (Aventis Pharma AG, Strasbourg, France) is an approved therapy for anticoagulation in patients with HIT requiring anticoagulation. Lepirudin is a recombinant form of hirudin, a leech enzyme that is a highly specific direct inhibitor of thrombin. Lepirudin monitoring during surgery can be managed with ecarin clotting time (ECT) (Cardiovascular Diagnostics, Inc., Raleigh, NC), which has recently been approved as a humanitarian device exemption (HDE) for use in the United States in the management of HIT with cardiopulmonary bypass. This case report describes a patient with HIT who was managed successfully with lepirudin and ECT during coronary artery bypass grafting.

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