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Keywords:

  • fetal loss;
  • thromboprophylaxis;
  • antithrombin deficiency;
  • protein C deficiency;
  • protein S deficiency

Summary

Hereditary thrombophilia is associated with an increased risk of fetal loss. Assuming that fetal loss is due to placental thrombosis, anticoagulant treatment might improve pregnancy outcome. In an observational family cohort study, we prospectively assessed the effects of anticoagulant drugs on fetal loss rates in women with hereditary deficiencies of antithrombin, protein C or protein S. The cohort contained 376 women (50 probands and 326 deficient or non-deficient relatives). Probands were consecutive deficient patients with venous tromboembolism. Thromboprophylaxis during pregnancy was recommended in deficient women, irrespective of prior venous thromboembolism, and in non-deficient women with prior venous thromboembolism. Outcome of first pregnancy was analysed in 55 eligible women. Of 37 deficient women, 26 (70%) received thromboprophylaxis during pregnancy, compared with three of 18 (17%) non-deficient women. Fetal loss rates were 0% in deficient women with thromboprophylaxis versus 45% in deficient women without (P = 0·001) and 7% in non-deficient women without thromboprophylaxis (P = 0·37). The adjusted relative risk of fetal loss in women who received thromboprophylaxis versus women who did not was 0·07 (95% confidence interval 0·001–0·7; P = 0·02). Our data suggest that anticoagulant treatment during pregnancy reduces the high fetal loss rate in women with hereditary deficiencies of antithrombin, protein C or protein S.