Suboptimal management of unfractionated heparin compared with low-molecular-weight heparin in the management of pulmonary embolism.
Intern Med J. 2014 Apr;44(4):339-44
Authors: Khor YH, Smith R, McDonald CF
BACKGROUND: Both low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) and unfractionated heparin (UFH) have been shown to be equivalent in efficacy and safety profiles for the management of pulmonary embolism (PE).
AIMS: To assess the real world management of anticoagulation in PE in a tertiary hospital setting.
METHODS: An audit of patients with a new diagnosis of PE from March 2011 to March 2012. Data collected included patient demographics, anticoagulant, complication, mortality, time to first administration, frequency of monitoring and dose adjustment for UFH, time to therapeutic range for UFH (based on activated partial thromboplastin time) and length of hospital stay.
RESULTS: Of the 211 patients who were included, 139 were admitted through the Emergency Department, and 45 were managed with UFH. There was no significant difference in time to initial dose between those treated with LMWH and UFH (192 vs 98 min, P = 0.16). For UFH, average time to therapeutic range was 594 min (range 87–2257 min). During the course of UFH therapy, only 22% of activated partial thromboplastin time was within therapeutic range, while 44% was above and 33% was below therapeutic range. Average number of UFH dose adjustment was 5. Increasing weight and higher baseline fibrinogen levels significantly delayed time to therapeutic range for patients on UFH (P = 0.02 and 0.04 respectively). Up to 18 months following PE, overall mortality rate was 28%, with no significant difference between LMWH and UFH (28% vs 29%).
CONCLUSION: PE was predominantly managed with LMWH. UFH was suboptimally managed when used, although there was no impact on mortality rate.
PMID: 24877250 [PubMed - in process]