(HIT; Heparin-induced Low Blood Platelet Count)
Pronounced: Hep-AH-ren IN-do-ced Thrombo-s-EYE-toe-PEE-nee-a
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Thrombocytopenia means low blood platelet count. These are a special type of blood cell. They help form clots so that you do not bleed too much.
Heparin is a blood thinner that lowers the risk of blood clots. Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is low blood platelet count caused by heparin. It can lead to too much blood clotting. Too much bleeding is rare.
HIT is caused by platelets clumping due to an immune reaction to heparin. The clumping uses them up and lowers the count.
Taking heparin is a risk for having this health problem.
Symptoms are from blood vessels being blocked:
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. An exam will be done.
Blood tests will be done to check your platelet count.
Treatment may include:
To lower the chance of this problem:
American Heart Association
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Arepally GM. Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. Blood. 2017 May 25;129(21):2864-2872.
Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dyname.... Updated August 30, 2018. Accessed August 14, 2019.
Heparin sodium. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: https://www.ebscoh.... Updated September 7, 2018. Accessed August 14, 2019.
Last reviewed August 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardJames P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 12/13/2019
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.