Prophylaxis of Venous Thromboembolism in Stroke Patients
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Venous thromboembolism is a common complication in patients with acute thrombotic stroke. Estimates of the frequency of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in untreated patients range from 20 to 75%. This wide range reported depends on the methods used to detect DVT and, importantly, on the degree of lower limb paralysis. Most thrombi occur in the paralyzed limbs in which the frequency ranges from 60 to 75%. Of these thrombi, 25% occur in the proximal segment and present a high risk for pulmonary embolism. Indeed, pulmonary embolism is the third most common cause of death in stroke patients and occurs in 1 to 2% of patients who do not receive prophylaxis. A number of methods of preventing DVT have been shown to be safe and effective in stroke patients. These include low-dose heparin, low-molecular-weight heparin, and a heparinoid. Of these, the data with the heparinoid danaparoid provide the most solid evidence for efficacy, and in comparative trials it has been shown to be more effective than heparin.
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