Background: Low-molecular-weight (LMW) heparins are safe and effective for out-of-hospital treatment of acute deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) in a clinical trial setting. We examined the efficacy, safety, and feasibility of home treatment with LMW heparin of consecutive eligible patients with acute DVT in a routine care setting. In addition, we report our experience with patient compliance, acceptance, and satisfaction.
Methods: We performed a prospective cohort study of consecutive patients presenting to 2 thromboembolism clinics in a large Ontario city. Eligible patients were treated with LMW heparin for a minimum of 5 days and with long-term warfarin sodium. Outcomes included the incidences of bleeding and recurrence of DVT and pulmonary embolism and patient satisfaction as determined by a questionnaire.
Results: One hundred thirteen patients with objectively confirmed DVT underwent screening; 89 patients were treated at home with LMW heparin. During the study, 1 patient died of a combination of pulmonary embolism and major bleeding, another patient required admission to the hospital for bleeding, and 5 patients with active malignant disease had recurrent DVT. Of the patients who completed the satisfaction questionnaire, 75 (91%) of 82 were pleased with home treatment; 44 (70%) of 63 felt comfortable self-injecting the LMW heparin; and 71 (92%) of 77 were satisfied with the support and instruction they received during the outpatient treatment.
Conclusions: Outpatient treatment of DVT with LMW heparin is safe, effective, and feasible for most patients and is associated with a high degree of patient satisfaction.