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Outcomes of thromboprophylaxis with enoxaparin vs. unfractionated heparin in medical inpatients

1 , 2 , , 3

Thrombosis Journal

BioMed Central

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      BackgroundClinical trials have shown low-molecular weight heparin (LMWH) to be at least as safe and efficacious as unfractionated heparin (UFH) for preventing venous thromboembolism (VTE) in acutely-ill medical inpatients.ObjectiveTo compare clinical and economic outcomes among acutely-ill medical inpatients receiving the LMWH enoxaparin versus UFH prophylaxis in clinical practice.MethodsUsing a large, multi-hospital, US database, we identified persons aged ≥40 years hospitalized for ≥6 days for an acute medical condition (including circulatory disorders, respiratory disorders, infectious diseases, or neoplasms) from Q4 1999 to Q1 2002. From these patients, those who received thromboprophylaxis with either enoxaparin or UFH were identified. Surgical patients and those requiring or ineligible for anticoagulation were excluded. We compared the incidence of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), and all VTE (i.e., DVT and/or PE). Secondary outcomes were occurrence of side-effects, length of hospital stay and total costs. RESULTS: 479 patients received enoxaparin prophylaxis and 2,837 received UFH. The incidence of VTE was 1.7% with enoxaparin prophylaxis versus 6.3% with UFH (RR = 0.26; p < 0.001). Occurrence of side effects, length of stay (10.00 days with enoxaparin vs. 10.26 days with UFH; p = 0.348) and total costs ($18,777 vs. $17,602; p = 0.463) were similar in the 2 groups.ConclusionWe observed a 74% lower risk of VTE among patients receiving enoxaparin prophylaxis versus UFH prophylaxis. There was no significant difference in side effects or economic outcomes. These results provide evidence that the LMWH enoxaparin is more effective than UFH in reducing the risk of VTE in current clinical practice.

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      Most cited references 8

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      Prevention of venous thromboembolism: the Seventh ACCP Conference on Antithrombotic and Thrombolytic Therapy.

      This article discusses the prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE) and is part of the Seventh American College of Chest Physicians Conference on Antithrombotic and Thrombolytic Therapy: Evidence-Based Guidelines. Grade 1 recommendations are strong and indicate that the benefits do, or do not, outweigh risks, burden, and costs. Grade 2 suggests that individual patients' values may lead to different choices (for a full understanding of the grading see Guyatt et al, CHEST 2004; 126:179S-187S). Among the key recommendations in this chapter are the following. We recommend against the use of aspirin alone as thromboprophylaxis for any patient group (Grade 1A). For moderate-risk general surgery patients, we recommend prophylaxis with low-dose unfractionated heparin (LDUH) (5,000 U bid) or low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) [ 3,400 U daily) [both Grade 1A]. For high-risk general surgery patients with multiple risk factors, we recommend combining pharmacologic methods (LDUH three times daily or LMWH, > 3,400 U daily) with the use of graduated compression stockings and/or intermittent pneumatic compression devices (Grade 1C+). We recommend that thromboprophylaxis be used in all patients undergoing major gynecologic surgery (Grade 1A) or major, open urologic procedures, and we recommend prophylaxis with LDUH two times or three times daily (Grade 1A). For patients undergoing elective total hip or knee arthroplasty, we recommend one of the following three anticoagulant agents: LMWH, fondaparinux, or adjusted-dose vitamin K antagonist (VKA) [international normalized ratio (INR) target, 2.5; range, 2.0 to 3.0] (all Grade 1A). For patients undergoing hip fracture surgery (HFS), we recommend the routine use of fondaparinux (Grade 1A), LMWH (Grade 1C+), VKA (target INR, 2.5; range, 2.0 to 3.0) [Grade 2B], or LDUH (Grade 1B). We recommend that patients undergoing hip or knee arthroplasty, or HFS receive thromboprophylaxis for at least 10 days (Grade 1A). We recommend that all trauma patients with at least one risk factor for VTE receive thromboprophylaxis (Grade 1A). In acutely ill medical patients who have been admitted to the hospital with congestive heart failure or severe respiratory disease, or who are confined to bed and have one or more additional risk factors, we recommend prophylaxis with LDUH (Grade 1A) or LMWH (Grade 1A). We recommend, on admission to the intensive care unit, all patients be assessed for their risk of VTE. Accordingly, most patients should receive thromboprophylaxis (Grade 1A).
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        Randomized comparison of enoxaparin with unfractionated heparin for the prevention of venous thromboembolism in medical patients with heart failure or severe respiratory disease.

        We compared the efficacy and safety of the low-molecular weight heparin enoxaparin with unfractionated heparin (UFH) for the prevention of venous thromboembolic disease in patients with heart failure or severe respiratory disease. This was a multicenter, controlled, randomized, open study in which patients received either enoxaparin (40 mg once daily) or UFH (5000 IU 3 times daily) for 10 +/- 2 days in 64 medical departments in Germany. Patients were stratified and enrolled according to their underlying disease: severe respiratory disease or heart failure. The primary efficacy parameter was a thromboembolic event up to 1 day after the treatment period. Of the 665 patients enrolled, 451 patients were able to be evaluated in the primary efficacy analysis. The incidence of thromboembolic events was 8.4% with enoxaparin and 10.4% with UFH. Enoxaparin was at least as effective as UFH, with a 1-sided equivalence region of -4% (90% CI -2.5-6.5, P =.015). Enoxaparin was associated with fewer deaths, less bleeding, and significantly fewer adverse events (45.8% vs 53.8%, P =.044). Enoxaparin is at least as effective as UFH in the prevention of thromboembolic events in patients with heart failure or severe respiratory disease. Its beneficial safety profile and once-daily administration is advantageous for inpatient and outpatient use.
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          The venous thrombotic risk in non-surgical patients: epidemiological data and efficacy/safety profile of a low-molecular-weight heparin (enoxaparin). The Prime Study Group.

          In a multicentre, randomized, double-blind controlled trial comparing the low-molecular-weight heparin enoxaparin (40 mg) with a standard unfractionated heparin (Ca-heparin, 3 x 5,000 U) in deep-vein thrombosis prophylaxis in a high-risk group of 959 hospitalized medical patients, enoxaparin was at least as efficacious as standard heparin, with fewer adverse events.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Health Economics & Outcomes Research, i3 Innovus, 10 Cabot Rd., Suite 304, Medford, MA 02155-5173, USA
            [2 ]Center for Health Economics & Policy, United BioSource Corporation, 101 Station Landing, Medford, MA 02155, USA
            [3 ]Global Health Economics, i3 Innovus, 10 Cabot Rd., Suite 304, Medford, MA 02155-5173, USA
            Thromb J
            Thrombosis Journal
            BioMed Central (London )
            27 September 2006
            : 4
            : 17
            Copyright © 2006 McGarry et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

            Original Clinical Investigation

            Cardiovascular Medicine


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