With the growing use of low-molecular-weight heparins (LMWH) for the treatment and prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE), it is important to provide an evidence-based comparison with unfractionated heparin (UFH) concerning rates of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT). Such comparisons are essential in clinical decision-making and cost-modeling. In this paper we review data regarding non-surgical (medical) patients. We conclude that the lack of uniform evaluation and standardized testing for HIT in the current literature precludes making a reliable estimate of the relative risk of HIT in UFH vs. LMWH in either the treatment or prevention of VTE in non-surgical patients. However, current data suggest that the risk of thrombocytopenia and HIT is low and similar for non-surgical patients who receive either LMWH or UFH.
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