Semin Vasc Med 2003; 03(1): 047-060
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-38332
Copyright © 2002 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA. Tel.: +1(212) 584-4662

Inherited Thrombophilia, Pregnancy, and Oral Contraceptive Use: Clinical Implications

Valerio De Stefano, Elena Rossi, Giuseppe Leone
  • Department of Hematology, Catholic University, Rome Italy
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27. März 2003 (online)


Inherited thrombophilia has been reported to be associated with an increased risk for complications of pregnancy, including venous thromboembolism (VTE) as well as preeclampsia (PEC), fetal loss (FL), fetal growth retardation (FGR), and abruptio placentae (AP), the latter probably due to inadequate placental perfusion. The estimate of risk largely depends on the kind of thrombophilia and on the criteria applied for the selection of the patients, producing in some cases contradictory results. Convincing evidence is available that deficiency of antithrombin III (AT), protein C (PC), and protein S (PS) is a risk factor for VTE and late FL. Factor VLeiden is associated with an increased risk for VTE, unexplained recurrent FL, late FL, and perhaps PEC; prothrombin G20210A is a weak risk factor for VTE. So far, the data available for FGR and AP are scarce. However, the absolute risk for VTE during pregnancy and puerperium is between 1 and 3%, in comparison with the baseline risk of 0.08%. Antithrombotic prophylaxis with subcutaneous heparin is warranted during puerperium in all women with thrombophilia and throughout all pregnancy in women at higher risk (AT deficiency, homozygosity for factor VLeiden, and perhaps PC and PS deficiencies); treatment with subcutaneous heparin for prevention of FL among women with thombophilia is under investigation. Presence of inherited thrombophilia increases the risk for VTE due to oral contraceptives up to an absolute risk of 3 per 1000 person-years, in comparison with the baseline risk of 3 to 6 per 10,000 person-years; the risk is further increased by first usage, the use of preparations containing third-generation progestins, and thrombophilia due to AT, PC, and PS deficiency as well as homozygous factor VLeiden and combined defects.


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