UCHealth case study offers insights on treating J&J vaccine-related blood clots

On April 13, the day the CDC paused use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, a patient with a rare vaccine-induced blood clot sought emergency care at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, according to a case study published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

The woman, in her 40s, had a headache, dizziness and vision changes 12 days after receiving Johnson & Johnson's vaccine. 

The CDC said heparin, a common first-line treatment for blood clots, should not be used to treat patients with this rare complication but did not recommend use of an alternative drug.

UCHealth physicians treated the patient with bivalirudin. Her early outcome suggests the drug may be a safe alternative to heparin for patients with vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia, though more research is needed on the medication's efficacy, the case study's authors said.

The case study could help inform clinical decision-making for other healthcare providers assessing heparin alternatives for patients with this complication, they added.

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