Which features differentiate heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) from other causes of thrombocytopenia?

Updated: Sep 10, 2021
  • Author: Sancar Eke, MD, FASN; Chief Editor: Srikanth Nagalla, MD, MS, FACP  more...
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Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) has three characteristic features that can distinguish it from other causes of thrombocytopenia. [38] First is the timing of the onset of thrombocytopenia; in most patients with HIT, the platelet count decrease begins from days 5 to 14 of heparin treatment. Second, the severity of the thrombocytopenia is usually mild to moderate, with platelet counts only rarely less than 15 x 109/L.

Third is the occurrence of large-vessel venous or arterial thrombosis in association with thrombocytopenia. Thrombosis precedes thrombocytopenia in up to 25% of patients with HIT. [48]

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