October 1996

Low-Dose Heparin Thromboembolism Prophylaxis

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of California, Davis, Medical Center, Sacramento, Calif.

Arch Surg. 1996;131(10):1069-1073. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1996.01430220063014

Objective:  To determine a rational approach to heparin dosing for thromboembolism prophylaxis.

Design:  Literature review.

Results:  Three commonly used heparin dosing regimens were identified: (1) standard low-dose heparin (5000 U administered subcutaneously 2-3 times per day); (2) adjusted-dose heparin (adequate to elevate the activated partial thromboplastin time to 5 seconds above the upper limit of normal); and (3) low-molecular-weight heparin (30 mg subcutaneously twice daily without monitoring).

Conclusions:  Adjusted-dose heparin thromboembolism prophylaxis is both the safest and most reliable method currently available.Arch Surg. 1996;131:1069-1073