Heparin Anti-Xa

Other names: Anti-Xa; Xa Inhibition; Heparin Level; Antifactor Xa Heparin

Heparin is an anticoagulant drug, which is used to treat people who have abnormal blood clotting. The test is used to measure the influence of low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) or unfractioned heparin (UFH) in the bloodstream; the test works by measuring anti-Xa activity. Both forms of heparin are given to patients either intravenously or by means of an injection.

Why is the test used?

The test is used primarily to monitor the treatment and condition of a patient with abnormal clotting; the test can determine the levels of heparin in the blood. Patients on low molecular weight heparin therapy are not usually tested; in most cases, the test is used to monitor those on UFH therapy.

The test is not ordered routinely but it may be requested to enable doctors to assess the levels of heparin and monitor treatment.

How is the test done?

The test is performed by taking a sample of blood from a vein in the patient’s arm; the sample is taken by inserting a needle into the vein; the blood is then drawn out and collected in a syringe. Once the sample has been collected, it will be bottled, labelled with the patient’s name and sent off for analysis.

Sometimes, doctors may take two samples, one before the heparin injection and one after the injection.

What do the test results show?

It is important that the test results are evaluated in accordance with the individual’s family history, general health and their treatment pathway; the time of day and the type of heparin therapy should also be taken into account. In general, if the levels of heparin are in the target zone for the drug, no adjustments will be made to the treatment. If levels are too high or too low, this may contribute to problems with the performance of the drug and it may have negative side-effects. So the treatment will probably be altered slightly.

Specific Blood Tests

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