Heparin-associated thrombocytopenia and thrombosis syndrome in a rehabilitation patient

Mark A. Young, Eli D. Ehrenpreis, Mark Ehrenpreis, Steven Kirshblum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Heparin-associated thrombocytopenia and thrombosis (HATT) syndrome is a severe complication of heparin therapy. Since patients admitted for rehabilitation are at high risk for deep-vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, prophylactic doses of subcutaneous heparin are frequently used. We report the case of a 73-year-old woman with a history of heparin exposure, admitted to a comprehensive rehabilitation program for management of severe back pain. The patient was started on subcutaneous heparin. After 18 days of hospitalization, she developed marked thrombocytopenia and a massive venous thrombosis in the right lower extremity. On intravenous heparin therapy, the platelet count continued to decline. The thrombocytopenia resolved with discontinuation of heparin. This case illustrates a devastating complication of heparin therapy and emphasizes that physiatrists should be aware of this acute and preventable drug reaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-470
Number of pages3
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Anticoagulation
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Heparin
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Thrombocytopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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