Dalteparin for deep venous thrombosis: a hospital-in-the-home program

Med J Aust. 1998 Mar 16;168(6):272-6. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.1998.tb140160.x.


Objective: To assess the efficacy, safety and cost savings of home treatment of lower-limb deep venous thrombosis (DVT).

Setting: A hospital-in-the-home treatment program.

Patients: One hundred patients with acute lower limb DVT (53 proximal, 47 distal), and no contraindication to home treatment, were entered into the program from March 1995 to February 1997.

Intervention: All patients received dalteparin, 200 units/kg subcutaneously, once daily for a minimum of five days, with commencement of oral anticoagulation (warfarin) on Day 2. Patients with proximal DVT had lung ventilation-perfusion scans performed and were admitted to hospital for at least 24 hours. Patients with distal DVT were discharged directly to home treatment.

Main outcome measures: Clinical responses and the results of sequential duplex ultrasonography at one week, one month, three months and six months.

Results: There were no major, but six minor, bleeding complications, two of which led to dalteparin being withdrawn. Sixteen patients had lung ventilation-perfusion scans showing a high probability of pulmonary embolism. All were asymptomatic, and follow-up for at least three months showed no symptomatic thromboembolic events. Duplex ultrasonography showed progression of thrombosis in the first week of therapy in 13.2% of distal and 2.7% of proximal thromboses. Thereafter, distal DVT improved at a much greater rate than proximal DVT; after six months complete resolution was seen in 60.7% of distal and 18.5% of proximal thromboses, respectively. Cost saving was $197 per bed-day equivalent compared with inpatient care. At 15 months' follow-up, swelling and/or pain was reported by 49% of patients with distal DVT and 66% of those with proximal DVT.

Conclusions: Once-daily dalteparin therapy for DVT in a hospital-in-the-home setting was safe, efficacious and cost effective. However, DVT resolution is a slow process, with significant long term morbidity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Anticoagulants / administration & dosage
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Dalteparin / administration & dosage
  • Dalteparin / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Home Care Services, Hospital-Based*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Thrombosis / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Duplex
  • Victoria


  • Anticoagulants
  • Dalteparin