Background: Postoperative subtherapeutic low-dose heparin infusion (LDHI) is sometimes administered in patients undergoing extremity arterial revascularization to maintain graft patency and decrease the risk of thrombosis. However, the safety of this management strategy is unknown. Methods: From 2013 to 2015, we retrospectively reviewed all patients undergoing upper and lower extremity arterial revascularization at a single university–affiliated medical center. Patients were grouped by receipt of LDHI within the first 24-hour postoperative period. Preoperative demographics, comorbidities, intraoperative measures, 30-day postoperative complications, arterial patency rates, and amputation rates were analyzed for each group. Results: We identified 379 patients who received extremity revascularization, and 56 (14.8%) of them had received LDHI. Patients who received LDHI were less likely to have an elective admission on presentation (26.8% vs. 56%, P < 0.001) or an admission from home (69.6% vs. 81.7%, P = 0.04). They were more likely to have preoperative bleeding (44.6% vs. 22%, P < 0.01) and need for emergent operation (23.2% vs. 11.8%, P = 0.04). Postoperatively, although patients who received LDHI demonstrated a trend toward increased bleeding (48.2% vs. 33.7%, P = 0.053), they did not demonstrate an increase in 30-day mortality (1.79% vs. 1.24%, P = 0.55) or reoperation (19.7% vs. 12.4%, P = 0.21). Multivariable analysis demonstrated that LDHI did not have a significant association with immediate postoperative bleeding (P = 0.99), survival (P = 0.13), primary patency (P = 0.872), and amputation-free survival (P = 0.387). Conclusions: Although LDHI was more likely to be administered in patients who received emergent operations, risk-adjusted analysis demonstrated that it was not associated with increased postoperative bleeding, mortality, short-term need for reintervention, or amputation after extremity arterial revascularization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-286
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
StatePublished - Apr 2019


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