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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A comparison of recombinant hirudin with a low-molecular-weight heparin to prevent thromboembolic complications after total hip replacement.

BACKGROUND: Patients who undergo total hip replacement have a high risk of thromboembolic complications. Recombinant hirudin (desirudin), a specific inhibitor of thrombin, represents a new development in antithrombotic therapy. We compared the efficacy and safety of desirudin with those of a low-molecular-weight heparin (enoxaparin) for the prevention of thromboembolic complications in patients undergoing primary total hip replacement. METHODS: Both treatments, which were assigned in a randomized, double-blind manner, were started preoperatively: enoxaparin on the evening before surgery, and desirudin within 30 minutes before the start of surgery. The dose of desirudin was 15 mg subcutaneously twice daily, and the dose of enoxaparin was 40 mg subcutaneously once daily. The duration of treatment was 8 to 12 days. Deep-vein thrombosis was verified by bilateral venography performed at the end of the treatment period or earlier, if there were clinical signs of deep-vein thrombosis. RESULTS: At 31 centers in 10 European countries, 2079 eligible patients were randomly assigned to receive desirudin or enoxaparin. A total of 1587 patients were included in the primary analysis of efficacy. In the desirudin group, as compared with the enoxaparin group, there was a significantly lower rate of proximal deep-vein thrombosis (4.5 vs. 7.5 percent, P=0.01; relative reduction in risk, 40.3 percent) and a lower overall rate of deep-vein thrombosis (18.4 vs. 25.5 percent, P=0.001; relative reduction in risk, 28.0 percent). The safety profiles were similar in the two treatment groups. CONCLUSIONS: When administered 30 minutes before total hip replacement surgery, desirudin is more effective than enoxaparin in preventing deep-vein thrombosis.[1]


  1. A comparison of recombinant hirudin with a low-molecular-weight heparin to prevent thromboembolic complications after total hip replacement. Eriksson, B.I., Wille-Jørgensen, P., Kälebo, P., Mouret, P., Rosencher, N., Bösch, P., Baur, M., Ekman, S., Bach, D., Lindbratt, S., Close, P. N. Engl. J. Med. (1997) [Pubmed]
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