Maternal and fetal sequelae of anticoagulation during pregnancy in patients with mechanical heart valve prostheses

Am J Cardiol. 1989 Jun 15;63(20):1462-5. doi: 10.1016/0002-9149(89)90008-8.


Previous reports indicate an increased risk of thrombotic and embolic events in patients with mechanical heart valve prostheses during pregnancy. We prospectively followed 50 pregnancies in 49 patients with 62 cardiac prostheses from presentation at the antenatal clinic through the remainder of the pregnancy. Of the 60 mechanical prostheses, 39 were Medtronic-Hall, 7 St. Jude Medical, 7 Starr-Edwards and 7 Björk-Shiley. Forty-three patients were in New York Heart Association functional class I or II and 6 were in functional class III or IV. Forty-five patients were in sinus rhythm and 4 had chronic atrial fibrillation. All patients received warfarin during the first and second trimesters. Forty-one pregnancies proceeded beyond 28 weeks. In 23 of these (group I) warfarin was replaced with heparin at 36 weeks gestation. In the remaining 18 (group II) warfarin was not substituted owing to premature onset of labor. The target prothrombin ratio (international normalized ratio) in patients receiving warfarin was 2.0 to 2.5. The partial thromboplastin time was maintained at 1.5 to 2.5 times the control value in patients receiving heparin. Eleven patients received dipyridamole plus warfarin for the duration of pregnancy. There were no maternal thromboembolic complications or deaths associated with pregnancy. Antepartum hemorrhage occurred in 1 patient at 35 weeks gestation. One patient (group I) experienced peripartum hemorrhage. All patients were hemodynamically stable before delivery, but 2 developed pulmonary edema during labor. The mean fetal birth weight was low (2.54 +/- 0.98 kg). There were 9 abortions (18%), 7 stillbirths (14%), 2 neonatal deaths (4%) and 2 instances of warfarin embryopathy (4%).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Birth Weight
  • Blood Coagulation / drug effects
  • Dipyridamole / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Fetus / drug effects*
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis*
  • Heparin / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Hematologic / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Thrombosis / prevention & control*
  • Warfarin / therapeutic use


  • Anticoagulants
  • Warfarin
  • Dipyridamole
  • Heparin