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An evaluation of activated partial thromboplastin time test monitoring of low dose heparin dosage in hip surgery


, : An evaluation of activated partial thromboplastin time test monitoring of low dose heparin dosage in hip surgery. Thrombosis & Haemostasis 47(1): 50-53

The activated partial thromboplastin time [APTT] was used to monitor the effects of low-dose s.c. heparin in 2 groups of patients undergoing hip surgery. The study was performed to determine the degree of anticoagulation required to protect these high-risk patients from postoperative deep vein thrombosis. The patients were randomized to receive a fixed regimen of s.c. calcium heparin (5000 U/8-h) or a dose of calcium heparin monitored by maintaining the standardized APTT at 50 s. In the adjusted group the APTT achieved the target figure in 46% of observations compared to 27% in the fixed group (P < 0.005). Nine patients showed positive 125I-fibrinogen scans and in all, the APTT was below the target value the day before the scan became positive. In 6 of the 9 thrombotic patients heparin was detected by antifactor Xa clotting assay. The APTT appears to give a better guide to the antithrombotic effect of heparin than the antifactor Xa clotting assay. Evidently, prolonging the standardized APTT method to just above 50 s improves prophylaxis in high-risk cases. A larger dose of heparin is required than is provided during the conventional low-dose regime of 5000 Units. With regular control using the standardized APTT, increasing the dose to the target value does not increase postoperative hemorrhage.

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