• Activated protein C resistance;
  • factor V Leiden;
  • recurrent pregnancy loss;
  • thrombophilia

PROBLEM: To examine whether the occurrence of activated protein C resistance (APCR) and factor V Leiden mutation differs in women with first- compared to women with second-trimester unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss. METHOD OF STUDY: Seventy eight consecutive women with two or more unexplained post-embryonic recurrent pregnancy losses and 139 fertile women with at least one successful pregnancy and no abortions were prospectively investigated for APCR and the factor V Leiden mutation. No women were pregnant at the time of investigation. APCR was defined as APC–sensitivity ratio (APC–SR) of ≤2.0. All patients with an APC–SR ≤2.4 were investigated for the factor V Leiden mutation. Women in this study were divided into three groups. Group A included only women with a history of recurrent first-trimester embryonic loss (37 women) and Group B included women with second-trimester abortions with or without additional first-trimester abortions (41 women). Group C included the controls (139 women). RESULTS: APCR and factor V Leiden mutations were significantly more prevalent in all recurrent pregnancy loss patients in this study as compared to controls, 38% (30/78) and 19% (15/78) in contrast to 8% (11/139) and 6% (8/139), respectively. All three groups in the study were comparable regarding age, parity, and number of living children, whereas Groups A and B were also comparable regarding gravidity. Mean APC–SRs were significantly higher in Group C as compared to Groups A and B. The incidence of APCR was significantly higher in Groups A and B, as compared to controls, 27 and 49% in contrast to 8%, respectively. Moreover, the incidence of the factor V Leiden mutation was significantly higher in Groups A and B as compared to Group C, 16 and 22% as distinct from 6%, respectively. The incidence of APCR was higher in Group B as compared to Group A, 49% in contrast to 27%, with borderline significance; however, the factor V Leiden mutation did not significantly differ between the two groups. CONCLUSIONS: APCR and factor V Leiden are associated with unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss. The occurrence of APCR and factor V Leiden seems to be linked to post-embryonic first-trimester as well as second-trimester recurrent pregnancy loss. The significance of acquired, non-heritable APCR in recurrent fetal loss patients, especially in the second-trimester aborters, is still to be determined.