Out of hospital anticoagulant therapy in patients with acute pulmonary embolism is frequently practised but not perfect

Esther R. van Bladel*, Mariette J. Agterof, Bernard D. Frijling, Rene van der Griend, Martin H. Prins, Roger E. G. Schutgens, Douwe H. Biesma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Web of Science)


Introduction: Traditionally, patients with pulmonary embolism (PE) are treated in-hospital until they reach an adequate international normalized ratio (INR). Analogous to patients with a deep venous thrombosis, therapy with low-molecular-weight heparin facilitates out of hospital treatment of PE. We retrospectively analysed the current practice of early anticoagulant therapy in 86 acute PE patients with emphasis on the occurrence and safety of outpatient treatment. Methods: Data were collected from two large regional teaching hospitals and from a specialized anticoagulation clinical, where patients were followed in the period after hospital discharge. The course of hospitalization and LMWH transitioning therapy and the quality of treatment in the first three months after diagnosis were compared between patients discharged before and patients discharged after reaching adequate INR. Results: Forty-four patients (51.2%) were discharged early, before reaching an adequate INR, and 42 patients (48.8%) were discharged after reaching adequate INR. Early discharged patients needed more time to reach adequate INR compared to other patients (13 versus 6 days). In 28 patients (32.6%), the LMWH transitioning therapy was stopped prematurely; 21 patients were from the early discharged group. During the first 3 months, the mean individual times below, in and above the INR range were equal between the two groups. Conclusion: Enhanced compliance to existing guidelines and tools, and further development of guidelines, with focus on intensification of monitoring of INR values in an outpatient setting and preventing premature discontinuation of transitioning therapy, are warranted for a safe and early discharge of stable patients with PE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-485
JournalThrombosis Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • Oral anticoagulant therapy
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Time in range
  • Home treatment
  • International normalized ratio

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