Low-molecular-weight (LMW) heparins are safe and effective for out-of-hospital treatment of acute deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) in a clinical trial setting. We examined the efficacy, safety, and feasibility of home treatment with LMW heparin of consecutive eligible patients with acute DVT in a routine care setting. In addition, we report our experience with patient compliance, acceptance, and satisfaction.
We performed a prospective cohort study of consecutive patients presenting to 2 thromboembolism clinics in a large Ontario city. Eligible patients were treated with LMW heparin for a minimum of 5 days and with long-term warfarin sodium. Outcomes included the incidences of bleeding and recurrence of DVT and pulmonary embolism and patient satisfaction as determined by a questionnaire.
One hundred thirteen patients with objectively confirmed DVT underwent screening; 89 patients were treated at home with LMW heparin. During the study, 1 patient died of a combination of pulmonary embolism and major bleeding, another patient required admission to the hospital for bleeding, and 5 patients with active malignant disease had recurrent DVT. Of the patients who completed the satisfaction questionnaire, 75 (91%) of 82 were pleased with home treatment; 44 (70%) of 63 felt comfortable self-injecting the LMW heparin; and 71 (92%) of 77 were satisfied with the support and instruction they received during the outpatient treatment.
Outpatient treatment of DVT with LMW heparin is safe, effective, and feasible for most patients and is associated with a high degree of patient satisfaction.