Tulane University Release: Blood-Thinning Agent May Be Better Than Heparin

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Tulane University researchers have found that enoxaparin, a type of blood-thinner, may be safer and more effective than the traditional drug heparin when used to help open up narrowed arteries in heart disease patients. The study results were announced today at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2003.

The scientists studied more than 500 patients who underwent either elective or emergency catheterization because of heart attacks, unstable angina (heart pain) or other acute heart problems involving the formation of blood clots in the vessels that supply blood to the heart, leading to reduced blood flow to the heart. Catheterization dilates narrowed arteries to increase blood flow. In this procedure, doctors place a balloon catheter (a long, thin, flexible tube with a balloon) or a catheter with a stent (a small mesh device) into the blocked artery to widen its diameter, allowing more blood to flow through. Physicians frequently treat patients with these conditions with a combination of anticoagulant medications. The volunteers in the study received either the traditional heparin or a low-molecular-weight heparin called enoxaparin (Lovenox(R)).

"A growing body of evidence suggests that the low-molecular-weight heparin, enoxaparin, is safe during this type of procedure," says lead investigator Jose Diez, director of interventional cardiology research and co-director of the cardiac catherization laboratories at Tulane University Health Sciences Center. "Our data show that enoxaparin may be safer than heparin, with less bleeding and blood abnormalities, and it may work better to prevent clotting."

"The study findings underscore the need for additional randomized trials to further evaluate the safety and efficacy of using enoxaparin for catheterization," Diez says. "We look forward to results from the SYNERGY trial, which we hope will provide a more definite answer regarding the superiority of enoxaparin to heparin."

CONTACT: Fran Simon

504.584.3663

Tulane University

CONTACT: Fran Simon for Tulane University, +1-504-584-3663

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