A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association two weeks ago found that even physicians have a hard time figuring out the appropriate dosage for individual patients. The analysis of more than 30,000 cardiac patients, who were treated at nearly 400 hospitals in the U.S., determined that anywhere from 30% to 50% of patients treated with blood thinners received too much medication.
Most of the overdoses were mild and doctors at academic institutions tended to do better than those at community hospitals, but some patients nevertheless suffered the consequences. Study investigators estimated that about 15% of the episodes of bleeding into brain that occurred after treatment could be linked to high levels of blood thinners.
That doesn't mean that giving blood thinners is bad medicine or that Israeli Prime Minister Sharon shouldn't have received them in the first place. But anti-thrombolytic therapy is a complex treatment that doesn't only save lives in a tiny fraction of cases, it makes things worse.