Thrombophilia and the risk of thromboembolic events in women on oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy

Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis. 2010 Sep;21(6):534-8. doi: 10.1097/MBC.0b013e32833b2b84.


Thrombophilia contributes to the risk of thrombosis in women using female hormones. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the prevalence of thrombophilia in women with thromboembolic events (TEEs) using oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and assess the contribution of a family history and the duration of hormone use in predicting thrombosis. A retrospective analysis was performed of the case records of women who developed a TEE while on oral contraceptives or HRT and were referred for thrombophilia evaluation over a 4-year period. Among 85 women who developed a TEE while on oral contraceptives or HRT, 65 had at least one additional thrombophilia risk factor. Of the 85 cases, 23 tested positive for more than two thrombophilias, 16 had factor V Leiden, five had the prothrombin gene G20210A polymorphism, 26 had antiphospholipid antibodies, 10 had elevated homocysteine, four had protein C deficiency, and seven had protein S deficiency. There were 64 TEE: 16 pulmonary emboli, 17 cerebrovascular events, 11 intra-abdominal thromboses, 13 deep venous thromboses, five cases of superficial thrombophlebitis, and two retinal vein thromboses. Of the 65 women, 37% had a positive family history of thrombosis. Approximately half of the women had been taking oral contraceptives or HRT for more than 1 year. There is a high prevalence of thrombophilia in women who developed a TEE while using oral contraceptives or HRT for more than 1 year. Family and personal history of thrombosis should be carefully evaluated in all women before initiating or continuing oral contraceptives or HRT, and a positive history may warrant a thrombophilia screening.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Contraceptives, Oral / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Genetic Testing
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Thromboembolism / epidemiology
  • Thromboembolism / etiology*
  • Thrombophilia / complications*
  • Thrombophilia / diagnosis
  • Thrombophilia / genetics
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Contraceptives, Oral