AHIT Is Rare

This has been one of the most detrimental myths, leading health professionals not to learn about the problem and not to be vigilant for it. In fact, HIT occurs in up to 3-5% of patients receiving 1 wk or more of prophylactic-dose unfractionated heparin (UFH) for postoperative thromboprophylaxis, as well as in about 1% of patients receiving iv UFH for treatment of DVT, PE, unstable angina, or other indications (see Chapter 3). Any heparin exposure can cause HIT, with documented cases following single or brief exposures to heparin (Warkentin and Bernstein, 2003). In my two large hospitals, we have recognized more than 100 cases of bona fide HIT yearly for several consecutive years.

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