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Am J Med. 1999 Jun;106(6):660-9.

Outpatient treatment of deep vein thrombosis: translating clinical trials into practice.

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Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.


To develop a rational approach to outpatient management, we review the pharmacologic properties of low-molecular-weight heparins and their efficacy in clinical trials of deep vein thrombosis treatment. Low-molecular-weight heparins have better bioavailability and more predictable anticoagulant activity than standard heparin and thus can be administered without routine laboratory monitoring. Randomized trials comparing subcutaneous low-molecular-weight heparin administered primarily at home with inpatient intravenous standard heparin have established the safety and efficacy of outpatient treatment of selected patients. However, many patients were excluded from these studies. The benefits demonstrated in carefully controlled clinical trials of outpatient treatment of deep vein thrombosis required a complex multidisciplinary organization of medical care that is not readily achievable in routine practice. A structured protocol is necessary to ensure that patient care is optimal. The essential components of an outpatient program include appropriate patient selection, adequate patient education, daily follow-up during therapy with low-molecular-weight heparin, and easy access to health-care professionals.

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