Objective: Low molecular weight heparins (LMWHs) offer several advantages over standard anticoagulant therapy (unfractionated heparin/warfarin) including predictable pharmacokinetics, minimal monitoring, and subcutaneous administration. Our objective was to determine the safety and efficacy of LMWHs in children.
Methods: A prospective cohort of children treated with the LMWH enoxaparin (Rhone Poulenc Rorer) was monitored at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada, from March 1994 until July 1997.
Results: There were 146 courses of LMWH administered for treatment and 31 courses for prophylaxis of thromboembolic events (TEs). Clinical resolution of TEs occurred in 94% of children receiving therapeutic doses of LMWH, and 96% of children receiving prophylactic doses of LMWH had no symptoms of recurrent or new TEs. Major bleeding occurred in 5% of children receiving therapeutic doses. Recurrent or new TEs occurred in 1% and 3% of children receiving therapeutic and prophylactic doses of LMWH, respectively.
Conclusion: LMWH appears to be efficacious and safe for both management and prophylaxis of TEs. The results of this cohort study justify a randomized controlled trial comparing LMWH with standard therapy for the management of TEs in children.