Definition of Anticoagulant
Anticoagulant: An agent that is used to prevent the formation of blood clots. Anticoagulants have various uses. Some are used for the prevention or treatment of disorders characterized by abnormal blood clots and emboli. Anticoagulant drugs include intravenous heparin, which acts by inactivating thrombin and several other clotting factors that are required for a clot to form, and oral anticoagulants such as warfarin and dicumarol, which act by inhibiting the liver's production of vitamin K'dependent factors that are crucial to clotting. Anticoagulant solutions are also used for the preservation of stored whole blood and blood fractions and to keep laboratory blood specimens from clotting.
Last Editorial Review: 3/19/2012
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