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Bleeding and Clotting Disorders

Heparin Allergy

11/19/2010

Question:

What kind of test can be used to determine if a person has an allergy to heparin. My father n` law had an allergy to heparin after his heart attack. The cardiologist told all of my fathern`laws children to be tested for a heparin allergy. My father n` law lost limbs because of this allergy. The dr. didn`t tell us what kind of tests we needed to get. We don`t live in that area anymore to ask that cardiologist. Our dr. didn`t know what test my husband should get to see if he has a heparin allergy. We would sure appreciate any help you could give us.

Answer:

While it is difficult to know exactly what you are referring to, it certainly sounds like what is call Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia. While heparin prevents and treats blood clots, in rare cases it may cause people to form clots instead of preventing them. There is no testing of relatives or family that needs to be done, though, as it is not thought to be an inherited problem.

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Response by:

Spero R Cataland, MD Spero R Cataland, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University