Purpose of review
Recent case-control studies and metaanalyses have attempted to quantify the risks associated with individual thrombophilic defects and adverse clinical events in pregnancy, including fetal loss, preeclampsia, placental abruption and intrauterine growth restriction. This review has examined the evidence.
The literature is in general agreement that thrombophilia increases the risk of venous thromboembolism and adverse pregnancy outcomes, including pregnancy loss, preeclampsia, placental abruption and intrauterine growth restriction in pregnancy. However, the size of the estimated risks varies between individual studies due to heterogeneity in study design. Low-molecular-weight heparin has been shown to be the superior choice, on the grounds of safety and effectiveness, in preventing venous thromboembolism and improving pregnancy loss. Large-scale, randomized controlled studies are required, however, to confirm these findings. Although selective thrombophilia screening based on prior venous thromboembolism history has been shown to be marginally more cost-effective than universal screening in pregnancy, the overall clinical and economic benefit of universal and selective screening is unsupported.
Despite the growing evidence in the literature, there are still gaps in our knowledge of thrombophilia and pregnancy. In particular, accurate estimates are required of the risks of venous thromboembolism and adverse pregnancy outcomes associated with some thrombophilias and the relative clinical and cost-effectiveness of different anticoagulation therapies in the prevention of venous thromboembolism and pregnancy loss. More large-scale studies are required to better inform clinicians and help determine optimum management and prevention strategies of thrombophilia and associated adverse clinical events in pregnancy.