Background: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a serious health care issue that affects a large number of people. Few standards exist for delineating the optimal dosing strategy for VTE prevention in obese patients, especially in the setting of major surgery or trauma.
Objective: To document the efficacy of a surgical intensive care unit (SICU)-specific, weight-based dosing protocol of enoxaparin 0.5 mg/kg given subcutaneously every 12 hours for VTE prophylaxis in morbidly obese (defined as body mass index [BMI] ≥35 kg/m(2) or weight ≥150 kg) SICU patients, using peak anti-factor Xa levels to determine therapeutic endpoints.
Methods: Data were collected retrospectively in an academic, university-based SICU on 23 morbidly obese patients who received weight-based enoxaparin for VTE prophylaxis from December 1, 2008, through June 30, 2010.
Results: A weight-based dosage range of enoxaparin 50-120 mg twice daily (median 60) was given to 23 patients. The mean BMI was 46.4 kg/m(2). The initial mean anti-factor Xa level (measured after the third dose) was 0.34 IU/mL (range 0.20-0.59). Patients received an average of 18 doses. Two cases required an increase or decrease in dosage based on anti-factor Xa levels. Morbidity related to this dosing included a single event of minor endotracheal bleeding and a single deep vein thrombosis that was likely present prior to treatment.
Conclusions: Weight-based dosing with enoxaparin in morbidly obese SICU patients was effective in achieving anti-factor Xa levels within the appropriate prophylactic range. This regimen reduced the rate of VTE below expected levels and no additional adverse effects were reported.