Prophylactically equivalent doses of Enoxaparin and unfractionated heparin inhibit in vivo coagulation to the same extent
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This study compared how Enoxaparin and unfractionated (UF) heparin influenced in vivo coagulation in patients randomized to receive, by twice daily subcutaneous injections, either 30 mg of Enoxaparin or 7500 I.U. of UF heparin after elective hip surgery. These two regimens were equally effective in reducing the incidence of post-operative deep vein thrombosis DVT. We compared the concentrations of endogenous thrombin-antithrombin III in pre- and post-surgical plasmas to determine how each prophylactic regimen influenced prothrombinase activity in vivo, and found the same concentrations of endogenous thrombin-antithrombin III in post-heparin and post-Enoxaparin plasmas. However, significantly higher concentrations of endogenous thrombin-antithrombin III were found in pre- and post-surgical plasmas of patients who developed post-operative DVT than the levels found in comparable plasmas of patients who remained DVT-negative, regardless of the drug received for prophylaxis. Human factor Xa was added to an equal volume of each patient's plasmas and the amount of added enzyme inactivated by antithrombin III measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for factor Xa-antithrombin III. Post-heparin and post-Enoxaparin plasmas inactivated approximately 4 times more factor Xa than the pre-surgical plasmas, regardless of the clinical outcome. Thus, before and after surgery, a higher than normal in vivo prothrombinase activity may be a significant risk factor for developing post-operative DVT.
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