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Acta Chir Scand. 1979;145(2):87-93.

Optimal regimen of low-dose heparin prophylaxis in gastrointestinal surgery.


Four low-dose heparin regimens were compared with respect to the postoperative frequency of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) diagnosed with the 125I-fibrinogen method and other thrombosis variables as well as to peroperative and postoperative bleeding. The study comprised 204 patients undergoing gastrointestinal surgery who received 5,000 IU of either calcium heparin or sodium heparin (Vitrum AB) subcutaneously 2 hours before the operation and either every 8 or every 12th hours afterwards for 6--8 days. DVT was diagnosed in 17 and 16% of the patients who received calcium heparin every 8th or 12th hour respectively and in 11 and 10% respectively of those given sodium heparin every 8th or 12th hour. The differences in the incidence of DVT between the four groups were not statistically significant. An 8-hourly regimen was not accompanied by more bleeding incidents than a 12-hourly regimen. Sodium heparin was associated with a significantly increased number of patients who required blood transfusion and had more bruising at the injection site. It is concluded that the safest, most practical and still effective of the four investigated low-dose heparin regimens is calcium heparin 5,000 IU/ml administered 2 hours before the operation and every 12 hours afterwards for the first postoperative week.

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