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Antithrombotic Therapy: Learning Objectives

Medical Importance

Anticoagulants, antiplatelet agents, and fibrinolytic drugs are commonly used for treatment of arterial and venous thrombotic diseases. Each group of agents can produce bleeding as well as protect against thrombosis, so knowledge, experience, and thoughtful assessment of the risks as well as the benefits are essential.  Several new antithrombotic drugs are being developed or are in clinical trials.


  1. Be able to name two oral antiplatelet agents and one intravenous one.

  2. Be able to describe the mechanism of the antiplatelet effect of the following agents.

    • Aspirin
    • Clopidogrel
    • Abciximab

  3. Name the anticoagulant protein to which heparin binds.

  4. Be able to list four key differences between standard heparin and low molecular weight heparin.

  5. Be able to list four key differences between heparin and warfarin.

  6. Be able to name a direct thrombin inhibitor and indicate one clinical use.

  7. Be able to give the mechanism of how warfarin works and name at least four clotting factors it affects.

  8. Name and know the pathophysiology of one unique side effect of both heparin and warfarin.

  9. Name three disease states for which thrombolytic therapy is used.

  10. Name one thrombolytic agent and describe how it works.

  11. Given a brief patient scenario, be able to select from a list of agents the best anticoagulant for that patient