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Am Heart J. 1999 Jan;137(1):59-71.

A randomized, multicenter trial of weight-adjusted intravenous heparin dose titration and point-of-care coagulation monitoring in hospitalized patients with active thromboembolic disease. Antithrombotic Therapy Consortium Investigators.

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Cardiovascular Thrombosis Research Center, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester 01655, USA.



Therapy with intravenous unfractionated heparin improves clinical outcome in patients with active thromboembolic disease, but achieving and maintaining a therapeutic level of anticoagulation remains a major challenge for clinicians.


A total of 113 patients requiring heparin for at least 48 hours were randomly assigned at 7 medical centers to either weight-adjusted or non-weight-adjusted dose titration. They were separately assigned to either laboratory-based or point-of-care (bedside) coagulation monitoring.


Weight-adjusted heparin dosing yielded a higher mean activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) value 6 hours after treatment initiation than non-weight-adjusted dosing (99.9 vs 78.8 seconds; P =.002) and reduced the time required to exceed a minimum threshold (aPTT >45 seconds) of anticoagulation (10.5 vs 8.6 hours; P =.002). Point-of-care coagulation monitoring significantly reduced the time from blood sample acquisition to a heparin infusion adjustment (0.4 vs 1.6 hours; P <.0001) and to reach the therapeutic aPTT range (51 to 80 seconds) (16.1 vs 19.4 hours; P =.24) compared with laboratory monitoring. Although a majority of patients participating in the study surpassed the minimum threshold of anticoagulation within the first 12 hours and reached the target aPTT within 24 hours, maintaining the aPTT within the therapeutic range was relatively uncommon (on average 30% of the overall study period) and did not differ between treatment or monitoring strategies.


Weight-adjusted heparin dosing according to a standardized titration nomogram combined with point-of-care coagulation monitoring using the BMC Coaguchek Plus System represents an effective and widely generalizable strategy for managing patients with thromboembolic disease that fosters the rapid achievement of a desired range of anticoagulation. Additional work is needed, however, to improve on existing patient-specific strategies that can more effectively sustain a therapeutic state of anticoagulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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