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Heparin vs. aspirin

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Low-molecular-weight heparin is not superior to aspirin in treating acute ischemic stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation, Berge, et al., Ulleval University Hospital, Oslo, Norway conclude in a study published in the April 8 Lancet. In a randomized, double-blind, double-dummy trial of 449 patients with acute ischemic stroke and atrial fibrillation, the researchers examined whether 100 IU/kg subcutaneous LMWH treatment twice daily, started within 30 hours of stroke onset, is superior to 160 mg aspirin per day at preventing recurrent stroke during the first two weeks. Berge, et al. say they "cannot exclude the possibility of smaller, but still worthwhile, effects of either of the trial drugs," and suggest patients receive aspirin in the acute phase of stroke and that short-term prophylactic use of low-dose LMWH should be considered

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