Heparin in interventional radiology: a therapy in evolution.
Journal - Seminars in interventional radiology (United States )
Interventional radiology techniques made possible by the antithrombotic properties of heparin have revolutionized treatment for a myriad of disorders. Newer low-molecular-weight heparins (LMWHs) offer several advantages over unfractionated heparin (UFH), especially in chronic settings. They are increasing in popularity for use during vascular procedures. However, LMWH shares limitations with UFH such as heterogeneity, nonspecificity, and induction of thrombocytopenia. These drawbacks have led to a search for the next generation of antithrombotic agents. Homogeneous drugs targeting specific coagulation cascade molecules are now available. The number of alternative anticoagulant drug combinations presents clinicians with a confusing array of choices. The strengths and weaknesses of UFH, LMWH, and direct antithrombin agents are presented. The promising future of LMWH and hirudins is discussed.