Use of thrombolytics for the treatment of thromboembolic disease during pregnancy

Obstet Gynecol Surv. 1995 Jul;50(7):534-41. doi: 10.1097/00006254-199507000-00020.


The incidence of thromboembolic disease is increased during pregnancy. Prevention and treatment of thromboembolic disease can have a significant impact on the morbidity and mortality of pregnant women. Anticoagulation with heparin is the treatment of choice; however, in some instances this is inadequate or contraindicated. In the nonpregnant patient, alternative therapies have included surgical intervention or fibrinolytic agents. Traditionally, thrombolytic therapy has been considered a relative contraindication during pregnancy due to the maternal and fetal risk of hemorrhagic complications. Hence, no controlled trials of agents such as streptokinase, urokinase, or tissue plasminogen activator for the treatment of thromboembolic events during pregnancy, have been performed, or are currently feasible. Since 1961, 36 reports have been published describing the use of thrombolytic agents during pregnancy. In a review of the world's literature, 172 pregnant women affected with thromboembolic conditions were treated with thrombolytic medications. A maternal mortality rate of 1.2 percent was observed. Approximately 10 pregnancy losses were noted (5.8 percent). Hemorrhagic complications were reported in 8.1 percent of patients. We summarize the published literature on the use of thrombolytic agents during pregnancy and discuss the treatment success and reported complications.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Female
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / adverse effects
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / history
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Thromboembolism / drug therapy*
  • Thromboembolism / history


  • Fibrinolytic Agents