Recombinant Hirudin (Lepirudin) Provides Safe and Effective Anticoagulation in Patients With Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia
A Prospective Study
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Background—The immunological type of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is the most frequent drug-induced thrombocytopenia. This study evaluated the efficacy of recombinant hirudin (r-hirudin or lepirudin), a potent thrombin inhibitor, for anticoagulation in patients with confirmed HIT.
Methods and Results—Eighty-two patients in this prospective, multicenter study received 1 of 4 intravenous r-hirudin regimens: A1, HIT patients with thrombosis (n=51), 0.4-mg/kg bolus and then 0.15 mg · kg−1 · h−1; A2, HIT patients with thrombosis receiving thrombolysis (n=5), 0.2-mg/kg bolus and then 0.1 mg · kg−1 · h−1; B, HIT patients without thrombosis (n=18), 0.1 mg · kg−1 · h−1; and C, during cardiopulmonary bypass surgery (n=8), 0.25-mg/kg bolus and then 5-mg boluses as needed. Response criteria were increase in platelet count by ≥30% to >109/L and activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) values 1.5 to 3.0 times baseline values achieved with a maximum of 2 dose increases. No placebo control was used for ethical reasons. Outcomes of a subset of r-hirudin–treated patients who met predefined inclusion criteria (n=71) were compared with those of a historical control group (n=120) for combined and individual incidences of death, amputations, new thromboembolic complications, and incidences of bleeding. Platelet counts increased rapidly in 88.7% of r-hirudin–treated patients with acute HIT. In regimens A1 and A2, the 25% and 75% quartiles of the aPTT were within the target range at all but 1 time point. The incidence of the combined end point (death, amputation, new thromboembolic complications) was significantly reduced in r-hirudin patients compared with historical control patients (P=0.014). During first selected treatment, the adjusted hazard ratio for r-hirudin patients versus historical control was 0.279 (95% CI, 0.112 to 0.699; P=0.003). Bleeding rates were similar in both groups.
Conclusions—r-Hirudin treatment is associated with a rapid and sustained recovery of platelet counts, sufficient aPTT prolongations, and true clinical benefits for patients with HIT.
- Received January 27, 1998.
- Revision received August 29, 1998.
- Accepted September 16, 1998.
- Copyright © 1999 by American Heart Association