A alternative approach to treating potentially fatal blood clots may be more effective, cheaper, and may allow patients to go home the same day, researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine reported. Findings from the study are published in Academic Emergency Medicine.

The study enrolled 106 low-risk patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism at two metropolitan emergency rooms between March 2013–April 2014. The standard of care is to be treated with heparin and oral warfarin along with close monitoring to maintain safe dosage levels and to prevent additional clots or bleeding.

However, patients in this study were treated with rivaroxaban and were discharged to go home. They received follow-up monitoring at two and five weeks, and at three and six months. Heparin and warfarin require blood monitoring every week but rivaroxaban does not require daily monitoring. Study authors found that patients with DVT who were immediately released from the emergency room and were treated with rivaroxaban had a low rate of recurrent thrombosis and bleeding.

RELATED: Longer Anticoagulation May Lower Risk of Recurrent DVT, Bleeding in PE

A second study compared the costs of both treatment protocols and saw that the rivaroxaban approach resulted in half the hospitalization and treatment costs compared with heparin and warfarin. An evaluation of 97 cases after six months showed that the median cost for the rivaroxaban protocol was $4,787 vs. $11,128 for the current standard of care.

Researchers concluded that patients can feel empowered with the injection-free anticoagulant treatment by allowing them to have more control. Fewer errors and better outcomes were seen with rivaroxaban treatment than the standard of care, they added.

For more information visit Indiana.edu.