The heparin is a polysaccharide that acts as anticoagulant , preventing thrombi from appearing in the blood vessels. The etymological root of the term is found in the Greek word hêpar, which translates as "liver" .
It should be remembered that polysaccharides are carbohydrates (also called carbohydrates or carbohydrates ) composed of an extensive chain of monosaccharides. A monosaccharide, in turn, is a sugar whose decomposition into a simpler one is not possible by hydrolysis.
Taking up the idea of heparin, it is a molecule formed by a chain of sugars whose main characteristic is its high sulfation . This polysaccharide has a sequence of five sugars that interact with protein They are responsible for clotting blood.
Being synthesized by the organism, it is considered as a endogenous substance , although its biological function is still unknown. However, it can also be supplied to exogenous level as an anticoagulant: in this context, heparin is injected into the blood to prevent clots from forming or thrombi .
Heparin is usually used preventively in the context of surgical interventions, during dialysis processes or after trauma . In such situations, the risk of a venous embolism thrombus increases, which is why heparin is injected to prevent the clot or, if it has already formed, to prevent it from continuing to grow.
For its benefits, heparin is usually considered as an essential medicine that allows the salvation of millions of lives year. While the unfractionated heparin (that is, the entire molecule) requires medical monitoring, the so-called low molecular weight heparin It can be injected by the patient without professional monitoring.