Randomised controlled trials that compared low-molecular-weight heparin (subcutaneous enoxaparin, 4000IU once-daily) with unfractionated heparin (5000IU two or three times daily) in patients hospitalised for medical conditions were eligible for inclusion. Specified outcomes were thromboembolic events (deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism), major haemorrhages and all-cause mortality.
Trial populations were primarily Caucasian elderly patients (mean age 71 years), 49% were female. Acute stroke was the most prevalent diagnosis (two trials recruited stroke patients exclusively), but patients with cancer, diabetes, respiratory diseases and cardiac insufficiency were also included. Some patients had multiple diagnoses.
Two reviewers independently assessed trial eligibility with reference to a third reviewer to resolve discrepancies.