Use of lepirudin in patients with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia and renal failure requiring hemodialysis

W. E. Dager, Richard H White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To report two cases of successful lepirudin use in two patients with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) and renal failure. CASE SUMMARY: Two patients with renal failure requiring hemodialysis developed HIT syndrome during intravenous heparin therapy. Anticoagulation was necessary to prevent recurrent, acute venous thrombosis in one patient and to prevent arterial thrombosis associated with the use of an intraaortic balloon pump in the second. Intravenous lepirudin was initiated at doses of 0.01 mg/kg/h and 0.005 mg/kg/h, respectively, and titrated based on the activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT). Steady-state doses were 0.015 mg/kg/h to maintain aPTT values of approximately 60 seconds in one patient, and 0.005-0.008 mg/kg/h to achieve an aPTT of approximately 45 seconds in the other patient. DISCUSSION: Lepirudin is one of few anticoagulants that can be safely used in patients with HIT. Because it is eliminated through the kidneys, great care must be taken when administering lepirudin to patients with renal failure; in fact, its use is currently not recommended in patients requiring hemodialysis. Lepirudin effectively prevented acute thrombosis in both of our patients with documented HIT, with no bleeding complications. We describe how we selected the initial doses and report results of aPTT monitoring. CONCLUSIONS: In patients with renal failure who develop HIT, lepirudin is one available alternative to heparin despite its poor renal elimination pattem and subsequently prolonged half-life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)885-890
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 2001


  • Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia
  • Lepirudin
  • Renal failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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