AbstractBACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) is known to be safe and effective for the initial treatment of patients with acute deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). Moreover, LMWH allows patients to be treated at home. However, only limited data are available on the feasibility of LMWH treatment at home in daily clinical practice. DESIGN AND METHODS: We evaluated the feasibility, efficacy and safety of home treatment of DVT in a consecutive series of outpatients using LMWH over a two year period. The two main reasons for exclusion were concomitant pulmonary embolism and a high hemorrhagic risk. Patients were treated with 95 IU/kg bid of nadroparin for a minimum of 7 days. The study design allowed patients to go home immediately after diagnosis or to be discharged after a short hospital stay. Anticoagulation with acenocoumarol was started 2 days before discontinuing nadroparin. RESULTS: From 1995 to 1997, 71 consecutive outpatients with DVT were treated with nadroparin. Ambulatory treatment was feasible in 39 patients (24 patients did not require admission and 15 patients were discharged in less than 48 hours). The remaining 32 patients were treated in hospital. The main causes for admission were the presence of serious comorbid conditions, the severity of symptoms in the involved leg and the inability to obtain a diagnosis. None of the patients had clinical recurrent venous thromboembolism during the initial treatment with nadroparin. One patient receiving nadroparin at home had a non-fatal major bleeding. None of the patients to whom the possibility of home therapy was offered wished to remain at hospital. However, only 26% of the home-treated patients injected the drug by themselves. INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS: Home therapy of DVT with LMWH bid at doses adjusted to patient's body weight is feasible, efficient and safe. Over 50% of outpatients with DVT can be treated at home, either entirely or after a short stay in hospital. Nevertheless, before using this therapeutic alternative as a standard of practice, an adequate assessment of embolic and hemorrhagic risks, and comorbid conditions, should be made.
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Vol. 83 No. 5 (1998): May, 1998 : Clinical Trial
Ferrata Storti Foundation, Pavia, Italy
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