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Haemostasis. 1996 May-Jun;26(3):127-39.

Subcutaneous low-molecular-weight heparin versus standard heparin and the prevention of thromboembolism in medical inpatients. The Heparin Study in Internal Medicine Group.

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1st Department of Medicine, Faculty for Clinical Medicine Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Germany.


In a multicenter, double-blind clinical trial in 1,968 inpatients 1 daily subcutaneous administration of LMW heparin plus 2 placebo injections or 3 x 5,000 IU unfractionated (UF) heparin was given for 10 (8-11) days. The primary end point was the incidence of proximal deep-vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. Patients were assessed during the study period for development of proximal deep-vein thrombosis by compression sonography at days 1 and 10 and for pulmonary embolism by scintigraphy in symptomatic patients. Aim of the study was to demonstrate the equivalence of both treatment regimens. A total of 1,968 patients were randomized to receive UF or LMW heparin. Of these, 378 patients were excluded during the study period, so that 780 patients on UF and 810 on LMW heparin were included in the efficacy analysis. Four primary end points were observed with UF and 6 with LMW heparin, demonstrating the equivalence of treatments (p = 0.012). Additionally, pulmonary embolism was suspected as the cause of death in 6 patients who died during the study (3 per treatment group). A higher frequency of death (n = 32) was observed in the LMW-heparin group (p = 0.02) particularly documented in a part of the centers. Safety analysis showed a higher frequency of local pruritus, local erythema and subcutaneous hematoma, a higher increase in plasma levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol, alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase, and a decrease of antithrombin III in patients receiving UF heparin. A decrease in platelet count (values ranging between 40,000 and 80,000/microliter) was observed in 4 patients with UF and in none with LMW heparin. No severe thrombocytopenia was observed. Subcutaneous LMW heparin is as effective as UF heparin for prophylaxis of thromboembolism in bedridden, hospitalized medical patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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