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.