Pulmonary embolism in pregnancy

J Thromb Thrombolysis. 2014 Apr;37(3):251-70. doi: 10.1007/s11239-013-0941-9.


Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a major cause of maternal morbidity and mortality during pregnancy or early after delivery, remaining a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge in both states. The absolute incidence of pregnancy-associated VTE has been reported as 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 2,000 deliveries. With 5-6 million new births computed in Europe in 2010, the potential clinical relevance of diagnosing and treating gravidic VTE is immediately evident. Fivefold higher in a pregnant as compared with a non-pregnant woman, VTE risk is also higher in postpartum than antepartum period. Ranked absolute and relative thrombotic risk may be described in the several thrombophilic conditions experienced by women at risk, according to which specific prophylactic and therapeutic recommendations have been formulated by recent guidelines. The main purpose of the present review article was to emphasize the most recent findings and recommendations in diagnostic strategies, discussing thrombophilic risk evaluation, as well as risks and benefits of various diagnostic techniques for both mother and fetus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Postpartum Period*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular* / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular* / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular* / prevention & control
  • Pulmonary Embolism* / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Embolism* / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Embolism* / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors