Bivalirudin: An anticoagulant for acute coronary syndromes and coronary interventions

Harvey D. White, Derek P. Chew

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Heparin is a commonly used anticoagulant in patients with coronary artery disease but its use does not always result in low rates of ischaemic and bleeding events, so the search for new anticoagulants continues. Thrombin plays a key role in both thrombosis and haemostasis and direct thrombin inhibitors modelled on the hirudin molecule found in the saliva of the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, have recently been developed. To date, the only direct thrombin inhibitor shown to reduce both the ischaemic and the bleeding complications associated with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is bivalirudin, which is approved for this indication in the US and New Zealand. This agent is currently being studied in patients undergoing PCI with or without glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors and stenting. Bivalirudin has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of reinfarction in patients with acute myocardial infarction (MI) treated with streptokinase, but its use for this indication is not approved in the US. It may also prove to be beneficial in patients with acute MI treated with other fibrinolytic regimens or with primary or facilitated PCI. Bivalirudin is suitable for use as an alternative to heparin in the majority of patients undergoing PCI and in patients receiving streptokinase for acute MI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-788
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2002


  • Acute coronary syndromes
  • Acute myocardial infarction
  • Angioplasty
  • Anticoagulant
  • Bivalirudin
  • Percutaneous coronary intervention
  • Thrombin inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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