Objectives: To compare the rates of bleeding complications in patients with renal insufficiency who receive anticoagulation therapy with the full therapeutic dose, unfractionated heparin (UFH), or with twice-daily enoxaparin.
Setting: A 325-bed community teaching hospital.
Study type: Retrospective cohort study.
Methods: The medical records of all patients with renal insufficiency who received anticoagulation therapy with UFH or enoxaparin during a 13-month period were reviewed for the occurrence of major and minor bleeding. Incidence rates were computed per 1,000-person days of anticoagulation therapy. Comparisons were made across categories of renal insufficiency and other potential confounders.
Results: A total of 620 patients with estimated glomerular filtration rates of < 60 mL/min were studied. Of these, 331 received anticoagulation therapy with UFH, 250 with enoxaparin, and 39 with both (not simultaneously). The major bleeding rates were 26.3 per 1,000 person-days for UFH and 20.7 per 1,000 person-days for enoxaparin. Major bleeding complications were similarly increased for both UFH and enoxaparin therapy across categories of worsening renal insufficiency. Patients with severe renal insufficiency while receiving enoxaparin had a 154% excess incidence of minor bleeding compared to those receiving UFH (incidence ratio, 2.54; 95% confidence interval, 1.01 to 6.36). Worsening renal insufficiency, female gender, and prolonged duration of anticoagulation therapy emerged as the main determinants for bleeding complications.
Conclusion: Both the twice-daily enoxaparin and UFH regimens are associated with comparable increases in major bleeding complications in patients with renal dysfunction receiving full-dose anticoagulation therapy. Both agents should be used with caution in anticoagulation therapy for patients with renal insufficiency.