Inherited Bleeding Disorders in the Obstetric Patient

Transfus Med Rev. 2018 Oct;32(4):237-243. doi: 10.1016/j.tmrv.2018.06.003. Epub 2018 Jul 12.


Inherited bleeding disorders increase the risk of bleeding in the obstetric patient. Randomized controlled trials to compare prophylactic or therapeutic interventions are rare, and guidance documents rely heavily on expert opinion. Here we report the results of a systematic review of the literature for the treatment and prevention of peripartum bleeding in women with an inherited bleeding disorder. The highest-quality evidence is for the use of tranexamic acid in postpartum hemorrhage, which has been shown to decrease bleeding-related mortality in women without bleeding disorders. There is limited evidence for prophylactic use of this agent in women with inherited bleeding disorders. Desmopressin has also been used in observational studies of patients with von Willebrand disease and carriers of hemophilia A with some success, although concerns about the risk of hyponatremia persist. In patients with deficiencies of specific factors, replacement is generally the preferred approach, and concentrates have been studied in deficiencies of VWF and factors VII, VIII, IX, XI, and XIII as well as in patients with fibrinogen deficiency. Because of the small size of these studies, neither safety nor efficacy is well established, although the literature suggests that bleeding history may be more predictive of outcomes than factor levels in many cases. Goal factor levels have not been studied or systematically established in any of these diseases, although observational data suggest that achieving normal levels may be inadequate, particularly for VWF and factor VIII, which are physiologically elevated in pregnancy. For factor deficiencies in which no specific concentrate is available, such as factors II (prothrombin) and V, prothrombin complex concentrate or fresh frozen plasma may be used, and for platelet defects or deficiencies, such as Glanzmann thrombasthenia or Bernard-Soulier syndrome, platelet transfusion is generally first line, although use of recombinant FVIIa has been reported in patients with Glanzmann thrombasthenia to avoid development of, or treat patients with, antibodies to platelet glycoprotein IIbIIIa. Ultimately, data are lacking to definitively support an evidence-based approach to management in any of these disorders, and prospective, controlled studies are desperately needed.

Keywords: Bernard-Soulier syndrome; Blood coagulation factor deficiencies; Fibrinogen deficiency; Glanzmann thrombasthenia; Hematologic pregnancy complication; Hemophilia; Postpartum hemorrhage; Pregnancy; von Willebrand disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Coagulation
  • Deamino Arginine Vasopressin / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Hematology / methods
  • Hemophilia A / complications
  • Hemophilia A / therapy*
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Hyponatremia / complications
  • Hyponatremia / therapy
  • Obstetrics / methods
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Hematologic / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Hematologic / epidemiology
  • Tranexamic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • von Willebrand Diseases / complications
  • von Willebrand Diseases / therapy*


  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Tranexamic Acid
  • Deamino Arginine Vasopressin