Retrospective cohort study comparing activated partial thromboplastin time versus anti-factor Xa activity nomograms for therapeutic unfractionated heparin monitoring in pediatrics

M. Trucco, C. U. Lehmann, N. Mollenkopf, M. B. Streiff, C. M. Takemoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Background: Unfractionated heparin (UFH) is widely used to treat thromboembolic disease, but monitoring in children is challenging. Both activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) and anti-factor Xa activity (anti-Xa) are utilized, but a comparison of dosing nomograms has not been reported in pediatrics. Objective: To compare the performance of aPTT and anti-Xa for UFH monitoring in pediatric patients. Design/methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted in patients ≤ 21 years old treated with UFH at Johns Hopkins Hospital from January 2009 to May 2011. For monitoring, an aPTT nomogram was used for the initial 15 months, and an anti-Xa nomogram was used for the subsequent 12 months. Clinical characteristics, laboratory data and outcomes were analyzed. Results: Thirty-four patients were monitored with aPTT and 26 patients with anti-Xa. There was no significant difference in median time to therapeutic range (11.6 h aPTT, 95%CI = 6.0-17.0; 9.9 h anti-Xa, 95%CI = 7.3-20.7) or per cent of patients achieving therapeutic measurements at 24 (79% aPTT, 95%CI = 62-91; 73% anti-Xa, 95%CI = 52-88) and 48 h (88% aPTT, 95%CI = 73-97; 96% anti-Xa, 95%CI = 80-100). However, anti-Xa measurements were more frequently therapeutic than aPTT (74% [95%CI = 69-78] vs. 54% [95%CI = 50-59]). Variance between anti-Xa and aPTT measurements was high (R2 = 0.236). No significant difference was seen in bleeding incidence (9% aPTT, 95%CI = 2-24; 15% anti-Xa, 95%CI = 4-35). Conclusion: The time to achieve therapeutic measures and bleeding outcomes were not significantly different between anti-Xa and aPTT nomograms. However, a small study size limits the power to detect clinically relevant differences. The results warrant larger prospective studies of UFH monitoring in children with thromboembolic disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)788-794
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015
Externally publishedYes



  • Anticoagulants
  • Hemorrhage
  • Heparin
  • Pediatrics
  • Therapeutic drug monitoring
  • Thromboembolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

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