A prospective trial that demonstrates that dalteparin requirements increase in pregnancy to maintain therapeutic levels of anticoagulation

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2004 Sep;191(3):1024-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2004.05.050.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether standard therapeutic doses of dalteparin maintain peak therapeutic levels of anticoagulation during pregnancy.

Study design: This was a prospective trial in which 13 pregnancies that required therapeutic anticoagulation were treated with dalteparin 100 U/kg every 12 hours; peak and trough (predose) low molecular weight heparin (anti-Xa activity) levels were monitored every 2 weeks. Dosage adjustments were made to maintain peak anti-Xa activity between 0.5 and 1.0 IU/ml. Bone density and bone turnover markers were measured.

Results: A total of 250 peak and trough low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) levels were obtained. Eighty-five percent of pregnancies (11/13) required an upward dosage adjustment. Trough levels were in the therapeutic range only 9% of the time, despite the maintenance of therapeutic peak levels. Bone resorption markers and density were unchanged in singleton pregnancies.

Conclusion: Dalteparin dosing, based on weight alone, every 12 hours is inadequate to maintain most pregnant women in the therapeutic range throughout pregnancy as measured by anti-Xa activity. Trough levels are rarely in the therapeutic range, despite maintenance of therapeutic peak levels. These notable changes in low molecular weight heparin peak may explain reported failures in pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / epidemiology
  • Adult
  • Anticoagulants / administration & dosage*
  • Dalteparin / administration & dosage*
  • Dalteparin / blood
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Heparin, Low-Molecular-Weight / administration & dosage
  • Heparin, Low-Molecular-Weight / blood
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prospective Studies
  • Venous Thrombosis / drug therapy*


  • Anticoagulants
  • Heparin, Low-Molecular-Weight
  • Dalteparin