A patient diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism is receiving an IV heparin infusion. Which of the following indicates a complication of therapy for which the nurse should monitor?

Tarry stools


• Heparin is an anticoagulant that inhibits the conversion of prothrombin to thrombin. Patients on an anticoagulant drug such as heparin are at an increased risk for bleeding.

• Signs of bleeding include ecchymoses, tarry stools, mucosal bleeding, and pink/red-tinged urine.

• Incorrect: Shortness of breath, hyperglycemia, and lethargy are not side effects of heparin.

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