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Therapeutic anticoagulation 

Therapeutic anticoagulation
Chapter:
Therapeutic anticoagulation
Author(s):

David Keeling

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0376
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date: 25 February 2021

The main indications for therapeutic anticoagulation are venous thromboembolism, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism, and the prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation or mechanical heart valves. Low-molecular-weight heparins have largely replaced unfractionated heparin in its treatment. Their much more predictable anticoagulant response combined with high bioavailability after subcutaneous injection means that the dose can be calculated by body weight and given subcutaneously without any monitoring or dose adjustment. Their widespread use resulted in most patients with deep vein thrombosis being managed as outpatients, and this is also increasingly the case for uncomplicated pulmonary embolism. Oral direct inhibitors of anticoagulation that specifically target thrombin or factor Xa are increasingly used to treat acute venous thromboembolism and for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation.

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