Heparin-induced skin lesions: More common than suspected

M. Schindewolf, B. Kahle, E. Lindhoff-Last, Ralf J. Ludwig

4 Citations (Scopus)


Cutaneous reactions to subcutaneous heparin injections have been described first in 1952. These reactions may be caused by several mechanisms such as immediate or delayed-type hypersensitivity responses, or by lifethreatening immune-mediated heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT). In contrast to bleeding, induction of osteoporosis and hair loss, no data on the incidence and causes of heparin-induced skin lesions had been available until recently. In a large prospective epidemiological study, the incidence of heparin-induced skin lesions was as high as 7.5% in medical patients, far exceeding the expected incidence. As heparin-induced skin lesions may be the sole clinical manifestation of immune HIT, rapid and valid diagnosis of heparin-induced skin lesions is of utmost clinical importance. Therefore, we have reviewed all known causes of heparin-induced skin lesions, and propose diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)5-11
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 26.02.2010


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