Nearly 2 years ago we discussed the use of low-dose subcutaneous heparin1 and concluded that this drug in doses of 5000 units 1 or 2 hours before operation and then 12-hourly, lowers the incidence of deep-vein thrombosis after most major operations, other than those for fractured neck of femur. Haemorrhage is not a serious problem. More is now known about the mode of action of heparin; further studies on the prevention of deep-vein thrombosis have been published; and preliminary data are available on the effect of low-dose heparin on the incidence of post-operative embolism.
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