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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


BAILLY, J et al. Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia: An update for the COVID-19 era. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2021, vol.111, n.9, pp.841-848. ISSN 2078-5135.

The increased use of heparin during the current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the risk of a rare but potentially serious complication of heparin therapy, viz. heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT). This is a short review on the pharmacology of heparin and its derivatives, and the pathophysiology of HIT. Guidance on laboratory testing for and clinical management of HIT is presented in accordance with international guidelines. There are important similarities and differences between HIT and the new entity of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia, also known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, which clinicians need to be aware of.

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