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A Journal on Angiology
Official Journal of the , the International Union of Phlebology and the
Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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International Angiology 2000 December;19(4):303-7
The home treatment of deep vein thrombosis with low molecular weight heparin, forced mobilisation and compression
Labas P., Ohrádka B., Vladimír J., Cambal M.
From the First Department of Surgery and *Department of Radiology, University Hospital, Bratislava, Slovakia
Background. The aim of this prospective study was to analyse a group of patients with DVT (deep vein thrombosis) treated at home with LMWH (low-molecular weight heparin), compression and intensive mobilisation and to evaluate its feasibility, efficacy and safety from possible risks of pulmonary embolism.
Methods. From March 1997 to September 1999, 96 consecutive patients with diagnosed DVT were enrolled in a prospective study and treated at home with enoxaparin (Clexane Rhône-Poulenc) administered subcutaneously at doses depending on body weight (1 mg/kg) b.i.d. for a minimum of seven days. Oral anticoagulants were started two days before discontinuing LMWH and given later for three months according to the haemocoagulation parameters. All patients wore elastic second degree compression stockings during the whole period of treatment and for 12 months there after. They were encouraged to walk 1-3 km daily. The sites of thrombosis were ilio-femoral vein — 38 patients (40%), femoral or popliteal vein — 32 patients (33%), crural veins — 26 patients (27%). According to our surgical criteria two years ago 17 patients would have been operated on and trombectomy performed. The diagnosis was made by compression ultrasonography using a colour duplex scanner (Acuscan 125), by contrast phlebography, and platelet scintigraphy (Tromboscint test). Perfusion-ventilation scintigraphy of the lungs was performed only if there were clinical signs or even a suspicion of pulmonary embolism and on all patients with iliofemoral thrombosis. Perfusion gamagraphy of lungs was carried out on 51 patients where thrombosis was localised in proximal veins.
Results. In 27 patients there were signs of non-fatal pulmonary embolism (53%), but only seven patients (26%) suffered mild non-specific clinical signs; 20 patients with diagnosed pulmonary embolism (74%) were symptom-free. Out of 96 patients, three admitted to hospital (3%), 67 (70%) injected LMVH themselves and felt comfortable. Eight to 12 weeks after this treatment control sonography and phlebography were carried out in 70 patients to assess the localisation and progress of the thrombosis. In 51% (36 patients) partial and 31% (22 patients) total recanalisation was found. Five out of 96 complained of minor bleeding (5%). No thrombocytopenia was noticed. The first five days on home treatment were crucial. All patients were able to walk and live at home without difficulty. None of our patients with proximal deep vein thrombosis used a vena cava filter.
Conclusions. Home treatment of DVT is possible and is effective, safe and less costly on average and per patient 40% in costs was saved compared with those of a hospital stay in spite of the greater expense of LMWH. The patients who received LMWH spent a mean of 1.2 days in the hospital, as compared with 12.7 days for the standard-heparin group.