Pediatric researchers personalize timing of treatment used to help children recover from severe blood clots

A mother and child smile as they wear masks and meet with a pediatrician.

It’s uncommon for children to experience severe blood clotting, but these types of events can follow a surgery, severe infection, or an extreme response to COVID-19. When severe blood clots do occur in children, physicians have often used data from studies with adults to guide pediatric prescribing practices. For example, a three-month treatment regimen for severe blood clotting, based on research in adults has been used as a standard approach for children. Now, a study with hundreds of children receiving care for severe blood clotting suggests a six-week treatment approach is just as safe and effective as the conventional three-month treatment course.  

To generate these findings, researchers partnered with 417 children receiving care at one of 42 hospitals to participate in a clinical trial that spanned from 2008-2021. The study included final data from 297 children. Each patient was randomized into a six-week or three-month treatment arm. After following the outcomes of patients for one year, researchers found no significant differences in blood clotting or extreme bleeding events among children in either treatment arm. However, the authors caution that these findings are broad. For example, more research would be needed to understand the best treatment approach for children receiving care for cancer or a pulmonary embolism.  

The study published in JAMA and was supported by NHLBI.