Background: The optimal approach for venous thrombosis (VTE) prophylaxis during pregnancy and postpartum in women with an increased risk of VTE is not established. Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness, represented as the incidence of pregnancy-related VTE, and safety, represented as incidence of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), of a protocol recommending prophylaxis with low-dose low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) in women at intermediate to high risk of VTE. Patients/methods: In this retrospective cohort study, we analyzed 34 women (44 pregnancies) with intermediate risk of VTE who received low-dose LMWH for 6weeks postpartum and 57 women (82 pregnancies) with high risk of VTE who received low-dose LMWH during pregnancy and for 6weeks postpartum. Pregnancy-related VTE was defined as VTE during pregnancy or ≤3months postpartum. PPH was defined as blood loss >500mL and severe PPH as blood loss>1000mL. Results: The incidence of pregnancy-related VTE was 5.5% (95% CI, 2.4-12.3) despite prophylaxis with low-dose LMWH. All events occurred in women at high risk, with a postpartum incidence of 7.0% (95% CI, 2.9-16.7) and antepartum incidence of 1.8% (95% CI, 0.4-9.2). The risk of PPH was 21.6% (95% CI, 14.3-31.3) and severe PPH 9.1% (95% CI, 4.7-16.9), which was not different in women who started LMWH postpartum and those who used LMWH during pregnancy. Conclusions: Although prophylaxis with low-dose LMWH during pregnancy and postpartum proved to be safe, the risk of pregnancy-related VTE is considerable in women with a high risk of VTE. VTE prophylaxis with low-dose LMWH may not be sufficiently effective in these women.

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Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Roeters van Lennep, J., Meijer, E., Klumper, F., Middeldorp, J., & Bloemenkamp, K. (2011). Prophylaxis with low-dose low-molecular-weight heparin during pregnancy and postpartum: Is it effective?. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 9(3), 473–480. doi:10.1111/j.1538-7836.2011.04186.x