Low-dose heparin appears safe and can eliminate protamine use for carotid endarterectomy

Academic Article


  • Objective: To determine the morbidity associated with carotid endarterectomy (CEA) when low doses of heparin (30 U/kg) are used for anticoagulation. This technique eliminates the need for protamine and its potentially deleterious effects on some patients. Design: A retrospective chart review. Setting: A large academic medical center. Participants: The records of 420 consecutive CEAs in 337 patients (83 bilateral procedures). Interventions: None. Measurement and Main Results: The amount of heparin used was less than that used in most reported studies. Eighty-two percent of patients received only 2,000 U of heparin for their entire operation (range, 500 to 3,000 U). Complication rates were low. Neurologic complications included a 0.95% incidence of nonfatal stroke and a 2.1% incidence of transient neurologic deficits that resolved in the first day. There was no mortality. The wounds were described in the postoperative period as dry (96%), swollen (3%), or bloody (1%). No patients received protamine. Conclusion: The use of 5 to 10,000 U of heparin will provide anticoagulation for more than an hour. In CEA surgery, anticoagulation for this duration is often unnecessary. A smaller dose of heparin (30 U/kg) can provide adequate anticoagulation for this procedure while eliminating the potentially deleterious effects of protamine use. No additional morbidity was attributed to this technique.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Groudine SB; Sakawi Y; Patel MK; Darling C; Abdel-Raouf A; Paty P; Lumb PD
  • Start Page

  • 295
  • End Page

  • 298
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 3