hep·​a·​rin | \ ˈhe-pə-rən How to pronounce heparin (audio) \

Definition of heparin

: a mucopolysaccharide sulfuric acid ester that is found especially in the liver and lungs, that prolongs the clotting time of blood, and that is used medically in the form of its sodium salt

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Other Words from heparin

heparinized \ ˈhe-​pə-​rə-​ˌnīzd How to pronounce heparin (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?

Heparin is an organic compound used to prevent blood from clotting in the heart or blood vessels during and after surgery, and for initial treatment of various heart, lung, or circulatory disorders in which there is an increased risk of blood clotting. A mixture of complex carbohydrate molecules, heparin occurs naturally in liver and lung tissues. It was discovered in 1922 and originally used to prevent clotting in blood taken for laboratory tests.

Examples of heparin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the affected patients, researchers have seen a rare clotting reaction similar to a rare side effect of the blood-thinning medication heparin. Leah Rosenbaum, Forbes, "Covid-19 Weekly Roundup: What Happened With The Johnson & Johnson Vaccine?," 16 Apr. 2021 The blood-thinning medication heparin is commonly used to treat clots but could be hazardous if used in these situations. Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune, "Minnesota complies with federal pause on J&J vaccine," 13 Apr. 2021 The other trial will study the use of heparin in patients who are hospitalized. Anna Edney, Bloomberg.com, "Covid’s Deadly Clotting Spurs U.S. Trials of Blood Thinners," 10 Sep. 2020 These guys in Italy, based on their experience, are saying that prophylactic doses of the anticoagulants heparin or Lovenox or something along those lines should be continued for 14 days after the patient has been discharged home. Lauren Caruba, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio vascular expert explains how coronavirus, COVID-19, can cause blood clots and stroke, even in young people," 9 July 2020 His team has started such a study and going forward will test varying doses of either the classic blood thinner heparin or one of the newer, oral anticoagulant drugs such as dabigatran, a direct thrombin inhibitor. Maggie Fox, CNN, "Blood thinners may help patients with severe Covid-19 infections, study finds," 6 May 2020 Some doctors have tried using blood thinners such as heparin to try to reduce the clotting, but there's not enough evidence to show whether such treatment helps patients survive. Maggie Fox, CNN, "New Covid-19 crisis hits ICUs as more patients need dialysis," 17 Apr. 2020 The contaminant, which is very cheap, was similar in chemical structure to heparin and was able to go undetected in routine tests. Marsha Blackburn, STAT, "The coronavirus outbreak exposes the U.S.’s pharma supply chain vulnerability," 14 Feb. 2020 The company has since shipped several other essential medicines, including the blood thinner heparin and the opioid overdose rescue drug, naloxone. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "California considers selling its own generic prescription drugs," 10 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'heparin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of heparin

1918, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for heparin

International Scientific Vocabulary, from Greek hēpar liver

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Time Traveler for heparin

Time Traveler

The first known use of heparin was in 1918

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Statistics for heparin

Last Updated

24 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Heparin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heparin. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for heparin


hep·​a·​rin | \ ˈhep-ə-rən How to pronounce heparin (audio) \

Medical Definition of heparin

: a glycosaminoglycan sulfuric acid ester that occurs especially in the liver and lungs, that prolongs the clotting time of blood by preventing the formation of fibrin, and that is administered parenterally in the form of its sodium salt in vascular surgery and in the treatment of postoperative thrombosis and embolism — see liquaemin — compare antiprothrombin, antithrombin

More from Merriam-Webster on heparin

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about heparin

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