Use of heparin preparations in older patients

Antonella Tufano, Matteo Nicola Dario Di Minno

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Thrombotic events are a major cause of morbidity in the elderly and are a growing concern in the medical community as the population ages. A shift to a procoagulant state occurs with aging, and aging itself is a risk factor for arterial and venous thrombosis. Unfractionated heparin (UFH) is a heterogeneous mixture of glycosaminoglycans that binds to antithrombin via a pentasaccharide, and catalyzes the inactivation of thrombin and other clotting factors. Different factors affect drug levels and drug sensitivity in older people. Alteration in drug kinetics and toxicity, coagulation factors, and changes in body composition as well as weight due to aging can affect anticoagulant therapy. A careful evaluation of renal function and poly-pharmacotherapy appears to be mandatory before therapy with LMWH is started in older patients. UFH and low molecular weight heparin(LMWH) are as effective in older individuals as in younger ones to prevent and treat thrombosis. However, they are associated with a higher risk of bleeding in older individuals, especially in those with kidney insufficiency. © 2005

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChemistry and Biology of Heparin and Heparan Sulfate
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780080448596
Publication statusPublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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