Antithrombin or antithrombin III (ATIII) is a vitamin K-independent, natural anticoagulant that is the major inhibitor of thrombin. With the binding of heparin, a conformational change in antithrombin occurs that increases the inactivation of thrombin by antithrombin by 4000-fold. Antithrombin deficiency can be hereditary or acquired; the acquired form is frequently encountered in patients requiring mechanical circulatory support.
Formulation of clots within the circuit of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a life-threatening emergency and requires emergent intervention. Decreased ATIII is associated with a hypercoagulable state, which can lead to dangerous complications for patients requiring mechanical circulatory support.
Recommended CitationSarik, MD, Jonathan R.; Unai, MD, Shinya; Pitcher, MD, Harrsion; Yang, MD, Qiong; Hirose, MD, PhD, Hitoshi; and Cavarocchi, MD, Nicholas C., "Antithrombin III deficiency in a patient requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation." (2013). Department of Surgery Faculty Papers. Paper 102.