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J Arthroplasty. 1998 Feb;13(2):180-5.

Low-molecular-weight heparin and partial thromboplastin time-adjusted unfractionated heparin in thromboprophylaxis after total knee and total hip arthroplasty.

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Department, University of Würzburg, Germany.


Thromboprophylaxis with heparins after total hip arthroplasty (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is well established. The aim of this study was to compare low-molecular-weight heparin (enoxaparin) with partial thromboplastin time (PTT)-adjusted, unfractionated heparin (heparin sodium). In a prospective study of THA and TKA 246 patients, physical examination and compression and duplex ultrasound were performed 1 day before and 7 and 14 days after surgery. One hundred thirty patients received 40 mg enoxaparin subcutaneously once per day. One hundred sixteen patients received 5,000 IU heparin sodium subcutaneously 3 times daily. As the PTT did not reach 40 seconds, the heparin sodium dosage was increased to 7,500 IU 3 times daily. The overall thrombosis rate was 4% (n = 10). In the enoxaparin group, the rate was 2.9% of the 70 THAs and 10% of the 60 TKAs. Thrombosis also occurred in the group that received heparin sodium: 1.8% of the THAs and 1.7% of the TKAs. For TKA, the difference between the 2 heparin groups was statistically significant. In the thromboprophylaxis of TKA, PTT-adjusted unfractionated heparins are superior to fixed doses of low-molecular-weight heparins.

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