Issue: 2019 > December > original article

Dalteparin and anti-Xa: a complex interplay of therapeutic drug monitoring

E.D.P. van Bergen, A. Huisman, P.M.J. Welsing, M.A. de Winter, M.B. Rookmaaker, H.A.H. Kaasjager, M. Nijkeuter
AbstractFull textPDF


Background: Monitoring low-molecular-weight heparins is generally not required. However, guidelines advise to monitor anti-Xa levels in patients with renal insufficiency or a BMI above 50, and in pregnancy. Measuring anti-Xa levels is a complex challenge since sampling should be performed three to five hours after subcutaneous injection and after steady state concentrations have been reached. Strict compliance is pivotal for justified dose adjustments.
Objectives: We questioned compliance to our protocol and performed this study to explore that.
Methods: This retrospective cohort study included patients ≥ 18 years receiving therapeutic dalteparin in a Dutch academic medical centre. Patients with a first anti-Xa level measured between February 23rd and December 30th, 2017 were selected. According to our local guideline, monitoring anti-Xa activity is indicated in patients on therapeutic doses of dalteparin who are pregnant, morbidly obese (BMI > 50), or have renal insufficiency (clearance < 60 ml/min). Accurate sampling was defined as measuring levels after at least three injections (after which a patient may reach steady state) and then four hours after the injection with dalteparin. The frequency of compliance to our protocol was assessed.
Results: We included 158 patients with 396 anti-Xa levels, of which 41% (65/158) of all first anti-Xa levels were drawn without appropriate indication. Almost half, 48% (211/396), were sampled incorrectly and 25% of these (53/211) were followed by a dose adjustment. In total, 74% (293/396) of the samples were not indicated or were taken at the wrong time.
Conclusions: Monitoring anti-Xa levels is a complex clinical challenge. This study showed that non-compliance with recommendations for anti-Xa monitoring was high, often resulting in unjustified dose adjustments.