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Arch Mal Coeur Vaiss. 2006 Dec;99(12):1210-4.

[Low molecular weight heparin and non valvular atrial fibrillation].

[Article in French]

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  • 1Hôpital Saint-Antoine, service de cardiologie, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine, Paris.


Low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) are obtained through chemical or enzyme depolymerisation of unfractioned heparins (UFH). LMWHs present several advantages over UFH: they exhibit a smaller interindividual variability of the anticoagulant effect, they have a greater bioavailability, a longer plasma half-life and do not require monitoring of the anticoagulant effect. LMWH have restrictive indications in AF patients, cardioversion (II level C and TEE for ACC/AHA/ESC and 2C for ACCP guidelines) or use as a bridge therapy (IIB, level C for ACC/AHA/ESC). The ACE study (Anticoagulation for cardioversion using enoxaparin), showed a reduction, though not statistically significant, of 42% of the composite end point (embolic event, major bleeding and death) 2.8% under enoxaparin vs. 4.8 % under conventional treatment, relative risk 0.58, CI 95% 0.23-1.46). Other studies, using dalteparin, confirmed that an anticoagulant treatment using LMWH followed by warfarin was at least as good as conventional management. ACUTE II (Assessment of cardioversion using transesophageal echochardiography), a randomized multicenter trial, compared the efficacy and tolerance of enoxaparin (1 mg/kg every 12 hours) and UFH in 155 patients eligible for a TEE-guided cardioversion. These patients were administered LMWH or UFH for 24 hours before TEE or cardioversion. There were no significative differences regarding the incidence of the study end points, in particular stroke and bleeding, and no death occurred. HAEST (Heparin in acute embolic stroke trial), a randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind trial failed to show the LMWH superiority over aspirin in patients with acute ischemic stroke and atrial fibrillation. Finally, LMWH have been proposed as a bridge therapy in patients under chronic VKA prior to surgery or invasive procedures. This strategy resulted in a low rate of thromboembolic events and major bleedings.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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