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Arch Intern Med. 2004 May 24;164(10):1077-83.

Subcutaneous adjusted-dose unfractionated heparin vs fixed-dose low-molecular-weight heparin in the initial treatment of venous thromboembolism.

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1
Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Padua, Via Ospedale Civile 105, 35128 Padua, Italy. paoloprandon@tin.it

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Few reports have addressed the value of unfractionated heparin (UFH) or low-molecular-weight heparin in treating the full spectrum of patients with venous thromboembolism (VTE), including recurrent VTE and pulmonary embolism.

METHODS:

In an open, multicenter clinical trial, 720 consecutive patients with acute symptomatic VTE, including 119 noncritically ill patients (16.5%) with pulmonary embolism and 102 (14.2%) with recurrent VTE, were randomly assigned to treatment with subcutaneous UFH with dose adjusted by activated partial thromboplastin time by means of a weight-based algorithm (preceded by an intravenous loading dose), or fixed-dose (adjusted only to body weight) subcutaneous nadroparin calcium. Oral anticoagulant therapy was started concomitantly and continued for at least 3 months. We recorded the incidence of major bleeding during the initial heparin treatment and that of recurrent VTE and death during 3 months of follow-up.

RESULTS:

Fifteen (4.2%) of the 360 patients assigned to UFH had recurrent thromboembolic events, as compared with 14 (3.9%) of the 360 patients assigned to nadroparin (absolute difference between rates, 0.3%; 95% confidence interval, -2.5% to 3.1%). Four patients assigned to UFH (1.1%) and 3 patients assigned to nadroparin (0.8%) had episodes of major bleeding (absolute difference between rates, 0.3%; 95% confidence interval, -1.2% to 1.7%). Overall mortality was 3.3% in each group.

CONCLUSIONS:

Subcutaneous UFH with dose adjusted by activated partial thromboplastin time by means of a weight-based algorithm is as effective and safe as fixed-dose nadroparin for the initial treatment of patients with VTE, including those with pulmonary embolism and recurrent VTE.

PMID:
15159264
DOI:
10.1001/archinte.164.10.1077
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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