Journal of Education and
Research in Nursing

Medical Leeches and Hirudotherapy: Where is Nurse’s Role?


Palliative Care Service, University of Health Sciences Tepecik Training and Research Hospital, İzmir, Turkey


İzmir Provincial Health Directorate, İzmir, Turkey


Department of Internal Medicine, Ege University School of Nursing, İzmir, Turkey

Journal of Education and Research in Nursing 2021; 18: 276-281
DOI: 10.5152/jern.2021.13540
Read: 154 Downloads: 70 Published: 30 September 2021

Medicinal leeches have long been used to treat some diseases since the ancient era. There are several species of leeches, and and are the major species living in Turkey. Turkey is one of the leading countries exporting leeches for medicinal purposes.In the pivotal studies by Haycraft, ahighly effective anticoagulant, namely hirudin, was detected in the saliva of leech in 1884. Hirudin disrupts thrombin activation by its anticoagulant characteristic and inhibits fibrinogen-fibrin conversion. Platelet aggregation is blocked, preventing leech aggregation over collagen surfaces.In contemporary medicine, medicinal products from some leech species have been used to treat cardiologic and hematologic disorders, and there is ongoing scientific research in this field. In addition to having afavorable ecosystem for leeches, Turkey should seize and maintain the opportunity to use leeches effectively and be the most preferred supplier worldwide. For nurses, understanding effects, adverse effects, and areas of usage for anticoagulant treatment of hirudotherapy, keeping them informed about developments in this field, and getting involved in novel studies are important to become professional in the hirudotherapy. In this review, we discuss areas of usage of hirudotherapy for anticoagulant purposes, role, and liability of nurses in this field.Hirudo medicinalisHirudo verbana

EISSN 2757-9204