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What is heparin?

Heparin is a medication that is used to treat and prevent blood clots in the veins, arteries and lungs. It may be used before surgery or dialysis to reduce the risk for blood clots. Heparin is a type of medication called an anticoagulant, or a "blood thinner." It works by improving the function of an anti-clotting protein that your body makes naturally, which helps blood flow more smoothly. Heparin is either injected into your vein or under your skin by a healthcare professional in a hospital or clinic, or you may be told to inject the medication by yourself at home. If you will be injecting heparin yourself, a healthcare provider will show you how to inject the medication. Talk to your doctor to determine whether heparin is right for you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.