Objective: This study was undertaken to analyze the maternal and perinatal outcome in women with prosthetic heart valves on different anticoagulant regimens.
Study design: A retrospective chart review of pregnancies in 40 women with mechanical valve prostheses at a tertiary referral centre from 1997 to 2010. The main outcome measures were major maternal complications and perinatal outcome.
Results: The valves replaced were mitral (67.5%), aortic (15.0%), or both (17.5%). Forty-nine pregnancies (72.1%) resulted in live births, 3(4.4%) had stillbirths, and 13(19.1%) had spontaneous abortions and 1(1.4%) underwent therapeutic abortions. The live birth rate was higher in women on heparin (78.3%) compared with those on warfarin (66.9%). There were 2 maternal deaths due to acute mitral valvular thrombosis while on acenocoumarol in the second trimester. Hemorrhagic complications occurred in 3 patients on heparin in the postpartum period, 2 of whom required transfusion. In addition one patient who was on acenocoumarol developed secondary hemorrhage.
Conclusion: No anticoagulant regimen can be said to be entirely safe for use during pregnancy as there is a degree of risk with each regimen. Further larger studies are needed to come up with sufficient evidence-based recommendations for the best possible management of such patients to reduce the maternal risks after mechanical heart valve replacement without compromising fetal outcome.
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