Author | James D. Douketis, MD


Using low molecular weight heparins as "bridging anticoagulant therapy"

April 01, 2005

Abstract: Bridging anticoagulant therapy is used to minimize the risk of thromboembolic complications when warfarin therapy must be temporarily interrupted because of surgery or another procedure. The decision to use this strategy depends on the patient's risk of thromboembolic complications and the risk of bleeding associated with the specific procedure. One approach is to withhold 4 or 5 daily doses of warfarin before surgery and initiate low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) 3 or 4 days before surgery. The last dose of LMWH is administered at least 24 hours before the procedure. After the procedure, prophylactic-dose LMWH can be administered subcutaneously once daily. The use of therapeutic-dose LMWH should be deferred until at least 24 or 48 hours after procedures that have a low or moderate risk of bleeding and until 48 or 72 hours after high-risk procedures. (J Respir Dis. 2005;26(4):170-172)