What is heparin?

Heparin is a drug that stops your blood from forming clots in the blood vessels. It is sometimes called an anticoagulant.

What is infusion?

Infusion is a type of drug therapy in which you are given a drug through a needle or catheter (thin, flexible tube). In most cases, infusion therapy means that you are given a drug through a vein (I.V. line). It is important to get your blood drawn and tested every six hours until the right amount of heparin is in your blood. After that, you will be tested on a routine basis unless there is a need to change how much heparin you need. Doctors measure the activity of heparin using a blood test called a PTT.

What should I remember about taking heparin?

When you are taking heparin, be careful not to hurt yourself and cause bleeding. If you get hurt when you are on a blood clot reducer, you can bleed too much. Please ask for help from an aid or nurse before getting out of bed to reduce the risk of falling.

When should I call the doctor or nurse?

Call your doctor or notify your nurse if you are taking heparin and you have:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Bleeding that will not stop
  • Bruising
  • Rash or patches on the skin
  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • Problems with headache, balance, or confusion
  • Problems seeing or hearing
  • Pain in your chest or a fast heart rate
  • Fast breathing
  • Wheezing

Also, you should let your doctor know if you should start to use a new medicine. Other drugs can change the way heparin works. Your dose of the blood clot reducer may get too weak or too strong if it reacts to another drug. Your doctor will talk to you about what drugs can be used safely with heparin.

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