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Low Molecular Weight Heparin Cuts Post-Stroke Clot Risk

Reduces the risk of venous thromboembolism by 43 percent compared with unfractionated heparin

FRIDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- The low molecular weight heparin enoxaparin reduces the risk of developing a venous thromboembolism after an acute ischemic stroke by 43 percent compared with unfractionated heparin, according to a study in the April 21 issue of The Lancet.

David G. Sherman, M.D., from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, and colleagues randomized 1,762 acute ischemic stroke patients to either enoxaparin once a day or unfractionated heparin twice a day within 48 hours of the cardiovascular event. The patients were unable to walk without assistance.

The researchers found that the risk of developing venous thromboembolism was 43 percent lower in the enoxaparin group. The reduction was observed regardless of stroke severity. The frequency of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage was the same in both groups (1 percent), but the frequency of symptomatic extracranial hemorrhage was significantly higher in the enoxaparin group (1 percent vs. 0 percent).

"Our results suggest that for patients with acute ischemic stroke, enoxaparin is preferable to unfractionated heparin for venous thromboembolism prophylaxis in view of its better clinical benefits to risk ratio and convenience of once daily administration," Sherman and colleagues concluded.

The study was sponsored by Sanofi-Aventis.

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