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Are We Using Fibrinolytic Agents Often Enough?

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Hematology Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry; Rochester, New York

Ann Intern Med. 1980;93(1_Part_1):136-137. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-93-1-136
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The development and acceptance of new pharmacologic approaches to treatment are often painstakingly slow. Consider heparin: This drug is the standard anti-thrombotic agent for treating acute venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, but it took more than 20 years from the time of its discovery in 1916 (1) until its first clinical use for thrombosis (2). It was another 20 years before heparin was a popular alternative to surgical venous interruption as a means of preventing pulmonary embolism. Now consider thrombolytic agents: Streptokinase was not described until 1933 (3), urokinase until 1951 (4), and neither agent was administered therapeutically for thrombotic


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