Pregnancy in women with mechanical valve prostheses has a high maternal complication rate including valve thrombosis and death. Coumarin derivatives are relatively safe for the mother with a lower incidence of valve thrombosis than un-fractionated and low-molecular-weight heparin, but carry the risk of embryopathy, which is probably dose-dependent. The different anticoagulation regimens are discussed in this review. When valve thrombosis occurs during pregnancy, thrombolysis is the preferable therapeutic option. Bioprostheses have a more favourable pregnancy outcome than mechanical prostheses but due to the high re-operation rate in young women they do not constitute the ideal alternative. When women with native valve stenosis need pre-pregnancy intervention, mitral balloon valvuloplasty is the best option in mitral stenosis, while the Ross operation or homograft implantation may be the preferable surgical regimen in aortic stenosis. (Neth Heart J 2008;16:406-11.).
Keywords: heart valve prosthesis; pregnancy; women.