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Prophylaxis and management of venous thromboembolism during pregnancy and postpartum period

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Introduction. Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is one of the lead causes for maternal mortality and morbidity during pregnancy in the majority of developed countries. The incidence rate of VTE per pregnancy-year increases during pregnancy and postpartum period about by 4-fold and at least 14-fold, respectively.

Aim: to analyze and summarize current view on risk factors of thrombotic events during gestation and to discuss recent guidelines for the management of venous thromboembolic complications during pregnancy and postpartum, by taking into account a balance between risks and benefits of using anticoagulants.

Materials and Methods. The literature search covering the last 10 years was carried out in the electronic scientific databases RSCI, PubMed/MEDLINE, and Embase. While formulating a search strategy for evidence-based information, the PICO method (P = Patient; I = Intervention; C = Comparison; O = Outcome) and the key terms “venous thromboembolism” and “pregnancy” were used.

Results. Risk factors were found to include a personal history of VTE, verified inherited or acquired thrombophilia, a family history of VTE and general medical conditions, such as immobilization, overweight, varicose veins, some hematological diseases and autoimmune disorders. VTE is considered being potentially preventable upon prophylactic administration of anticoagulants, but no high confidence randomized clinical trials comparing diverse strategies of thromboprophylaxis in pregnant women have been proposed so far. Because heparins do not cross the placenta, weight-adjusted therapeutic-dose low molecular weight heparins (LMWH) represent the anticoagulant treatment of choice for VTE during pregnancy. Once- and twice-daily dosing regimens are acceptable. However, no evidence suggesting benefits for measurement of factor Xa activities and consecutive LMWH dose adjustments to improve clinical outcomes are available. In case of uncomplicated pregnancy-related VTE, no routine administration of vitamin K antagonists, direct thrombin or factor Xa inhibitors, fondaparinux, or danaparoid is recommended. Lactating women may switch from applying LMWH to warfarin. Anticoagulation therapy should be continued for 6 weeks postpartum with total duration lasting at least for 3 months.

Conclusion. VTE is a challenging task in pregnant women expecting to apply a multi-faceted approach for its efficient solution by taking into account updated recommendations and personalized patient-oriented features.

About the Authors

V. Ya. Khryshchanovich
Belarussian State Medical University
Russian Federation

Vladimir Ya. Khryshchanovich – MD, Dr Sci Med, Professor, Department of Surgical Diseases № 2

83 Dzerzhinsky Ave., Minsk 220116

Scopus Author ID: 55791054400

N. Ya. Skobeleva
Belarussian State Medical University; Clinical Maternity Hospital of Minsk Region
Russian Federation

Natalia Ya. Skobeleva – MD, Postgraduate Student, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Belarussian State Medical University, Minsk, Republic of Belarus; Obstetrician-Gynecologist, Head of the Obstetric Department of Pregnancy Pathology, Clinical Maternity Hospital of Minsk Region

83 Dzerzhinsky Ave., Minsk 220116,

16 Frantsisk Skorina Str., Minsk 220114



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For citation:

Khryshchanovich V.Y., Skobeleva N.Y. Prophylaxis and management of venous thromboembolism during pregnancy and postpartum period. Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproduction. 2021;15(5):599-616. (In Russ.)

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