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.
University of Texas Health Science Center Houston, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, Houston, Texas (M. A. Turrentine).
Zentrum fur Frauenheilkunde und Geburtshilfe, Giessen, Germany (G. Braems)
Lawson Research Institute, London, Ontario Canada (G. Braems, M. M. Ramirez)
Reprint requests to: Mark A. Turrentine, MD, University of Texas Health Science Center Houston, Department of Obstetrics, Gyencology & Reproductive Sciences, Houston, TX 77030.
Authors whose names are accompanied by an asterisk (*) have indicated, in accordance with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) Standards, that they have a relationship which could be perceived by some people as a real or apparent conflict of interest, but do not feel it has influenced their participation.