PURPOSE: We sought to describe the development and outcomes of a hospital-based program designed to provide safe and effective outpatient treatment to a diverse group of patients with acute deep venous thrombosis. METHODS: Patients enrolled in the program were usually discharged on the day of or the day after presentation. Low-molecular-weight heparin was administered for a minimum of 5 days and warfarin was given for a minimum of 3 months. The hospital provided low-molecular-weight heparin free of charge to patients. Patients received daily home nursing visits to monitor the prothrombin time, assess compliance, and detect complications. The inpatient and outpatient records of the first 89 consecutive patients enrolled in the program were reviewed. Patients were observed for a 3-month period after enrollment. RESULTS: The median length of stay was 1 day. Low-molecular-weight heparin was administered for a mean (± standard deviation [SD]) of 4.7 ± 2.4 days at home. Recurrent thromboembolism was noted in 1 patient (1%), major bleeding in 2 patients (2%), and minor bleeding in 2 patients (2%). No patients died or developed thrombocytopenia. Assuming that patients would have been hospitalized for the duration of treatment with low-molecular-weight heparin, the program eliminated a mean of 4.7 days of hospitalization, with an estimated reduction of $1,645 in total health care costs per patient. CONCLUSION: This hospital-based program to provide outpatient treatment of deep venous thrombosis to a diverse group of inner-city patients achieved a low incidence of adverse events and substantial health care cost savings. Specific strategies, including providing low-molecular-weight heparin free of charge and daily home nursing visits, can be utilized to facilitate access to outpatient treatment and ensure high-quality care.
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