Objectives: The efficacy and safety of fondaparinux, an emerging therapeutic option for
heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), remain unclear in cardiac surgery patients with HIT.
Methods: Using several search criteria, we reviewed all cases of fondaparinux use in patients who developed HIT after
any cardiovascular intervention and were indexed in MEDLINE by August 2014. Based on pre-specified criteria, cases
were divided into confirmed HIT, probable HIT and possible HIT. The outcome of fondaparinux use in each group was
compared using Chi-square test.
Results: Of 43 total cases, 22 had confirmed HIT and 21 had possible HIT. Valve replacement or repair (39%) and heart
transplant or ventricular assist device placement (21%) were the most common preceding cardiovascular interventions.
Creatinine clearance <30 ml was present in 27% and 52% of confirmed and possible HIT respectively. Overall the risk of
new thrombosis and bleeding with fondaparinux were 4.6% and 7% respectively, without any differences in the two
subgroups. The majority (86%) of cases improved clinically; of the remainder patients, similar percentage of cases with
possible HIT and confirmed HIT died (24% vs. 5%; p= 0.102). None of the deaths were attributed to HIT or
complications of bleeding.
Conclusion: Within the limitations of this study, the risk of thrombosis and bleeding with fondaparinux use in cardiac
surgery patients with HIT are low and largely comparable to outcomes reported in literature with other agents.