Dalteparin Not Superior to Unfractionated Heparin

No difference in proximal DVT incidence in critically ill; but fewer pulmonary emboli

TUESDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- Dalteparin, a low-molecular-weight heparin, does not appear any more effective in lowering the incidence of proximal deep-vein thrombosis than unfractionated heparin, according to research published online March 22 in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Deborah Cook, M.D., of McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and colleagues randomly assigned 3,764 critically ill patients to either subcutaneous dalteparin plus placebo or unfractionated heparin during their time in the intensive care unit to compare the two therapies for prevention of venous thromboembolism.

The researchers found no significant difference between the two groups in terms of the rate of proximal leg deep-vein thrombosis. The dalteparin group had a significantly lower proportion of patients with pulmonary emboli (hazard ratio 0.51), but there was no significant difference between the groups in major bleeding or in-hospital death.

"Among critically ill patients, dalteparin was not superior to unfractionated heparin in decreasing the incidence of proximal deep-vein thrombosis," the authors write.

Three authors disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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