OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) could be equally (or more) effective than oral anti-vitamin-K agents (AVK) in the long-term treatment of deep venous thrombosis (DVT).
DESIGN: A randomised, open-label trial.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: In this trial, 241 patients with symptomatic proximal DVT of the lower limbs confirmed by duplex ultrasound scan were included. After initial LMWH, patients received 6 months of treatment with full therapeutic dosage of tinzaparin or acenocoumarol. The primary outcome was the 12-month incidence of symptomatic recurrent venous thrombo-embolism (VTE). Duplex scans were performed at 6 and 12 months.
RESULTS: During the 12-month period, six patients (5%) of 119 who received LMWH and 13 (10.7%) of 122 who received AVK had recurrent VTE (p=0.11). In patients with cancer, recurrent VTE tended to be lower in the LMWH group (two of 36 [5.5%]) vs. seven of 33 [21.2%]; p=0.06). One major bleeding occurred in the LMWH group and three in the AVK group. Venous re-canalisation increased significantly at 6 months (73.1% vs. 47.5%) and at 12 months (91.5% vs. 69.2%) in the LMWH group.
CONCLUSIONS: Tinzaparin was more effective than AVK in achieving re-canalisation of leg thrombi. Long-term tinzaparin was at least as efficacious and safe as AVK for preventing recurrent VTE, especially in patients with cancer