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Bivalirudin is a direct thrombin inhibitor (DTI) frequently used for anticoagulation in the setting of invasive cardiology, particularly percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Bivalirudin has a unique pharmacologic profile: unlike other marketed DTIs, it undergoes predominant non-organ elimination (proteolysis), and has the shortest half-life (approximately 25 min). Its affinity for thrombin is intermediate between that of lepirudin (highest) and argatroban (lowest)--this helps explain why it interferes with functional clotting assays to an extent intermediate between that achieved by these two other DTIs.
Growing data demonstrate procedural success with bivalirudin in patients with HIT undergoing cardiovascular surgery. However, bivalirudin dosing and goal-activated clotting times varied between the studies and case reports. Bivalirudin represents a viable alternative to heparin in patients with HIT undergoing cardiovascular surgery; however, further trials are warranted to identify optimal dosing and monitoring parameters.
Czosnowski Q A, Finks S W, Rogers K C. Bivalirudin for patients with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia undergoing cardiovascular surgery[J]. Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 2008, 42(9): 1304-1309.
Among the current agents in the class of direct thrombin inhibitors, bivalirudin has seen increased use in cardiovascular medicine over the past decade through its primary indication as an anticoagulant used during percutaneous coronary interventions. Bivalirudin has been further investigated and used as the anticoagulation strategy in the setting of cardiac and endovascular surgical procedures and is frequently utilized in the management of patients with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. In comparison with heparin, bivalirudin exhibits a low immunogenic profile and provides similar or reduced major bleeding rates as well as a predictable degree of anticoagulation that is dose related. Bivalirudin primarily undergoes dual elimination via proteolytic cleavage and renal elimination, and requires dose adjustment in the setting of severe renal dysfunction. Given the body of supportive data, bivalirudin is likely to continue to figure prominently as a reliable and efficient anticoagulation strategy. Additional agents in the class of direct thrombin inhibitors are under investigation and may find increasing clinical use.
Van De Car D A, Rao S V, Ohman E M. Bivalirudin: a review of the pharmacology and clinical application[J]. Expert review of cardiovascular therapy, 2010, 8(12): 1673-1681.