Despite more than a half century of "safe" cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB), the evidence base surrounding the conduct of anticoagulation therapy for CPB has not been organized into a succinct guideline. For this and other reasons, there is enormous practice variability relating to the use and dosing of heparin, monitoring heparin anticoagulation, reversal of anticoagulation, and the use of alternative anticoagulants. To address this and other gaps, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists, and the American Society of Extracorporeal Technology developed an Evidence Based Workgroup. This was a group of interdisciplinary professionals gathered to summarize the evidence and create practice recommendations for various aspects of CPB. To date, anticoagulation practices in CPB have not been standardized in accordance with the evidence base. This clinical practice guideline was written with the intent to fill the evidence gap and to establish best practices in anticoagulation therapy for CPB using the available evidence.To identify relevant evidence, a systematic review was outlined and literature searches were conducted in PubMed using standardized medical subject heading (MeSH) terms from the National Library of Medicine list of search terms. Search dates were inclusive of January 2000 to December 2015. The search yielded 833 abstracts, which were reviewed by two independent reviewers. Once accepted into the full manuscript review stage, two members of the writing group evaluated each of 286 full papers for inclusion eligibility into the guideline document. Ninety-six manuscripts were included in the final review. In addition, 17 manuscripts published before 2000 were included to provide method, context, or additional supporting evidence for the recommendations as these papers were considered sentinel publications. Members of the writing group wrote and developed recommendations based on review of the articles obtained and achieved more than two thirds agreement on each recommendation. The quality of information for a given recommendation allowed assessment of the level of evidence as recommended by the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Recommendations were written in the three following areas: (1) heparin dosing and monitoring for initiation and maintenance of CPB; (2) heparin contraindications and heparin alternatives; and (3) reversal of anticoagulation during cardiac operations. It is hoped that this guideline will serve as a resource and will stimulate investigators to conduct more research and to expand on the evidence base on the topic of anticoagulation therapy for CPB.