Comparison of heparin dosing based on actual body weight in non-obese, obese and morbidly obese critically ill patients

Int J Crit Illn Inj Sci. 2013 Jul;3(3):195-9. doi: 10.4103/2229-5151.119200.

Abstract

Background: Obesity is endemic in the United States and obese patients are at increased risk of thromboembolism but little data are available for dosing unfractionated heparin (UFH). We evaluated the relationship between obesity and UFH efficacy during critical illness by examining UFH infusions in non-obese, obese, and morbidly obese critically ill patients.

Materials and methods: Retrospective review of UFH infusions in non-obese, obese, and morbidly obese critically ill patients. Heparin was initiated without a bolus at 16 units/kg/h or 12 units/kg/h in obese and morbidly obese patients. Demographics, UFH dosage/therapy duration, laboratory values, and bleeding events were reviewed for patients receiving UFH for >24 h. Steady state (SS) was defined as the dosage that resulted in three consecutive activated partial thromboplastin times (aPTT) within target range.

Results: Sixty-two patients were analyzed including 21 non-obese (mean body mass index (BMI) 24.2 ± 2.3); 21 obese (BMI 34.1 ± 3.1); and 20 morbidly obese (mean BMI 55.3 ± 13.7). Patients had otherwise similar demographics. Although 92% had at least one therapeutic aPTT, only 55% of patients reached SS. Six patients developed minor bleeding, but no major hemorrhagic complications. The dosing of heparin based on actual body weight (units/kg/h) and time to first therapeutic aPTT was similar between groups, but dose was statistically higher at steady state in the non-obese (16.3 ± 5.3 non-obese, 11.6 ± 5.5 obese and 11.1 ± 1.2 obese, P = 0.01) with similar times to steady state.

Conclusions: Dosing of UFH in morbidly obese and obese critically ill patients based on actual body weight and a reduced initial dose was associated with similar time to first therapeutic aPTT and steady state.

Keywords: Critically ill; heparin; obesity.