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Disadvantages of intravenous therapeutic unfractionated heparin, the first-line anti-coagulant agent in children with complex congenital heart disease, include unpredictable pharmacokinetics requiring frequent phlebotomies and the need for continuous intravenous access.
To compare efficacy and safety of low-molecular-weight heparin administered by a subcutaneous indwelling catheter with intravenous unfractionated heparin.
Materials and methods:
Clinical data from 31 inpatients prospectively enrolled to receive subcutaneous low-molecular-weight heparin were compared with those from a historical group of 44 inpatients receiving intravenous unfractionated heparin. Investigation of parents’ satisfaction by telephone survey.
The percentage of anti-factor Xa levels outside therapeutic range was lower in the subcutaneous low-molecular-weight heparin group compared with the percentage of activated partial thromboplastin times outside therapeutic range in the intravenous unfractionated heparin group (40% versus 90%, p < 0.001). Neither group had a major complication. Transient local reactions occurred in 19% of patients of the subcutaneous low-molecular-weight heparin group. The number of needle punctures and that of placement of indwelling catheters were significantly lower in the subcutaneous low-molecular-weight heparin compared with the intravenous unfractionated heparin group (p < 0.001). In total, 84.2% of parents in the subcutaneous low-molecular-weight heparin group reported a positive experience when asked about comparison with prior intravenous unfractionated heparin treatment.
Subcutaneous low-molecular-weight heparin offers a safe anti-coagulation regimen for children with complex congenital heart disease providing more efficient therapeutic anti-coagulation and a reduction in needle punctures, thus causing less pain and anxiety in this children.
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