A prospective study of fifty-three consecutive calcium heparin treated pregnancies in patients with antiphospholipid antibody-related fetal loss

Clin Exp Rheumatol. Sep-Oct 1997;15(5):499-505.


Objective: In this study the efficacy and safety of calcium heparin administered alone for the prevention of fetal loss related to antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) were evaluated.

Methods: Fifty-three consecutively ascertained pregnancies were followed in 53 patients who had a history of at least 2 consecutive miscarriages during the first trimester and/or 1 fetal death during the second or third trimesters. In addition, all patients had at least 2 positive aPL tests more than 8 weeks apart before pregnancy, or a positive aPL test at the beginning of pregnancy. They were treated with calcium heparin alone, self-administered subcutaneously 3 times daily at dosages varying between 15,000 and 37,500 units. Treatment was started soon after a sonogram demonstrated a live embryo and was continued throughout pregnancy until the end of puerperium.

Results: All pregnancies terminated favourably between the 25th and 40th weeks (mean +/- SD: 36.69 +/- 2.91) with planned caesarean section in 27 cases and vaginal delivery in 26. Delivery was brought forward due to maternal and/or fetal complications in 18 cases (33.96%). Calcium heparin was associated with intravenous immunoglobulin therapy in 2 patients with fetal problems unresponsive to anticoagulant treatment alone. The newborns, 30 females and 25 males, had a mean birth weight of 2,828.3 g +/- 706.5 and a mean Apgar score at 5 minutes of 9.60 +/- 0.68. No malformations were observed. Thirty of the 37 examined placentas (81.08%) showed signs of thrombotic events. Only minor side effects of calcium heparin were observed during treatment.

Conclusion: Our study suggests that calcium heparin administered alone using the dosages and timing described here is effective in achieving the delivery of viable infants, and that it is well tolerated.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / prevention & control*
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid / blood*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / complications
  • Female
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Heparin / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Placenta
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Hematologic / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prospective Studies
  • Twins


  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid
  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • calcium heparin
  • Heparin