Heparin injections are prescription medications that are typically used to prevent and treat blood clots. These injections may be given to prevent the formation of blood clots in those who are undergoing surgery, those who have certain medical conditions that increase the chances of developing blood clots, or in those who have recently suffered a stroke. This type of medication may also be used in some cases to prevent pregnancy loss or miscarriage. These injections are typically given by a medical professional, although in some cases the patient may be taught how to properly deliver the injections at home.
Heparin injections may be given before or after surgery in an effort to prevent the formation of blood clots. This medication works by thinning the blood so that abnormal clotting does not occur inside of the blood vessels. The development of blood clots is a potential complication of many types of surgical procedures. Heparin injections are not routinely given to all surgery patients, but if there are preexisting medical issues that increase the risks of abnormal clotting, this is a standard preventative measure.
A person who is unable to move or get out of bed for a prolonged period of time may be given heparin injections to prevent blood clots. When the body is not able to perform any sort of physical activity, circulation problems are likely to develop, and clots may begin to form. Patients who are bedridden or confined to a wheelchair full-time may need to have periodic heparin injections.
Pulmonary embolisms are blood clots that have moved from the heart and into the lungs. Heparin injections may be used to help prevent further growth of these clots. While this medication is often useful in preventing blood clots and keeping existing blood clots from growing larger, heparin injections will not reduce the size of blood clots that already exist. Other medications may be prescribed along with the heparin in an effort to reduce the size of large clots.
The use of heparin injections has potential side effects that may require further medical treatment. For instance, these injections may lead to spontaneous bleeding in various parts of the body, including the stomach, intestines, or reproductive organs. In some cases, this type of medication can cause the body to attack the platelets, which are responsible for allowing the blood to clot. This may be the primary cause of spontaneous bleeding when using this medication. In rare cases, these injections may actually cause the blood clots that they are designed to prevent.