Medical College of Wisconsin
CTSICores SearchResearch InformaticsREDCap

Heparin Monitoring with an Anti-Xa Protocol Compared to Activated Clotting Time in Patients on Temporary Mechanical Circulatory Support. Ann Pharmacother 2021 Aug 22:10600280211039582



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID



BACKGROUND: Temporary mechanical circulatory support (tMCS) devices are used for patients with severe cardiac or respiratory failure; however, these patients are at high risk for clotting and bleeding. The best method to monitor heparin in these patients has not been established.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the risks for bleeding and clotting while monitoring heparin with either anti-Xa or activated clotting time (ACT) in tMCS patients.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was conducted on tMCS patients who received heparin adjusted according to an anti-Xa or ACT protocol. The primary outcome was incidence of major bleeding. Pertinent secondary outcomes were individual components of the primary outcome, clotting events, and time to therapeutic range.

RESULTS: There were 103 patients included in the study: 53 in the ACT group and 50 in the anti-Xa group. Overall, there were 30 (56.6%) patients with major bleeding in the ACT group, compared with 16 (32%) patients in the anti-Xa group (P = 0.017). An anti-Xa-based protocol was associated with a decreased hazard of major bleeding (hazard ratio = 0.388 [0.215-0.701]; P = 0.002) in the univariate analysis. In the multivariable analysis, an anti-Xa protocol remained associated with a significantly lower hazard of bleeding. Findings were similar when broken down into more discrete subgroups of the entire cohort, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation life support (ECMO), and non-ECMO groups.

CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE: Anti-Xa monitoring was associated with a lower hazard of bleeding during tMCS compared to an ACT-based protocol. Further studies should evaluate if anti-Xa monitoring should be preferentially used in tMCS.

Author List

Feih JT, Wallskog KE, Rinka JRG, Juul JJ, Rein L, Gaglianello N, Baumann Kreuziger LM, Joyce DL, Tawil JN


Lisa M. Baumann Kreuziger MD Associate Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin