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What are heparin injections for?

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Heparin is a substance that is produced in the liver and can be found in the different tissues of the body, with a higher concentration in the liver, muscle and lungs. Its function is to prevent blood plasma proteins, which participate in coagulation, from being transformed into the enzyme thrombin, which is why it acts as an anticoagulant. Although heparin occurs naturally in the human body, it can also be obtained, for clinical use, from the intestinal mucosa of pigs or bovine lungs.

Heparin injections are administered subcutaneously or intravenously, and although it can be absorbed intramuscularly, it is not recommended, as it causes bruising. Its average life in the body is 56 to 152 minutes, depending on the injected dose. Since the mode of action of heparin varies according to how many units were used in the preparation of the drug, it is necessary that you go to your doctor to make a diagnosis and prescribe the correct dose for your situation. In general terms, heparin injections are known for their action against thrombosis, but they have several uses and in this FastlyHealarticle we will explain what heparin injections are for .

To prevent blood clots

In people who have a medical condition that makes them prone to developing blood clots in the bloodstream, heparin injections are often prescribed . The mode of action of heparin, once administered, consists of combining with a protein that blocks the enzyme that initiates clotting, thus making it more efficient and preventing possible blood clots from forming.

On the other hand, it also prevents the components necessary for the enzyme to enter into action from not being stimulated and the probability that a clot will be produced by another route is decreased. The number of heparin injections to be administered will depend on what your doctor tells you and the type of preparation that best suits you, but it can be one or three injections daily.

For thrombosis

When the blood clot is already obstructing a blood vessel, the injection of heparin must be in very high doses. Its use is usually indicated to treat deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary thromboembolism .

Heparin injections will slow and stabilize thromboplastin, an enzyme that promotes the formation of thrombin, which causes clotting. Therefore, these injections will prevent clots from growing, but will not decrease their size. Treatment for thrombosis with heparin injections should be kept under control and under strict surveillance, based on the state of the condition, as the days go by, the dose administered is usually modified.

To prevent disease and complications

Heparin injections also serve as a method to prevent complications from thromboembolism after surgery. To do this, a low dose of heparin must be injected before and after the operation, according to the schedules and recommendations of the doctor, which is usually until, at least, 48 hours after the patient is active. This treatment is frequently used in people with elective abdominal or thoracic surgery, a decrease in mortality from pulmonary embolism has also been observed.

For channeling

If it is necessary for a person to maintain a catheter for a long time, either for the administration of medications or for taking blood, heparin is frequently used in small doses to prevent the possible development of blood clots, this in order to maintain permeable pipeline ducts. The number of injections given will depend on the days the catheter has to keep working.

For autoimmune disorder in pregnancy

Another application of heparin injections has to do with an autoimmune disorder syndrome that makes the patient prone to a higher incidence of blood clots and that during pregnancy leads to other complications, mainly abortion, fetal death, premature delivery , fetal growth limitation, premature detachment of the placenta, and pre-eclampsia.

In this case, treatment is a combination of low doses of heparin and acetylsalicylic acid, starting from the moment the pregnancy is verified and continuing until delivery. Heparin injection decreases the likelihood of complications; it also increases the survival rate of the fetus. During its administration there is no risk that heparin affects the fetal circulatory system, since it does not cross the placenta. However, you should always follow the treatment that the doctor has indicated, if you experience discomfort you must notify him before any change.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to What are heparin injections for , we recommend that you enter our Blood, heart and circulation category .

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