How do we manage venous thromboembolism in pregnancy? A retrospective review of the practice of diagnosing and managing pregnancy-related venous thromboembolism at two major hospitals in Australia and New Zealand
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BACKGROUND: North American and European literature suggest that the incidence rate for pregnancy-related thromboembolism (VTE) ranges from 0.5 to 2 per 1000 pregnancies. However, there is a paucity of data regarding pregnancy-related VTE in Australia and New Zealand. AIMS: To define the epidemiology, management and adverse effects of pregnancy-related VTE in Australia and New Zealand. METHOD: Retrospective chart review of pregnant patients with objectively diagnosed pregnancy-related VTE at Monash Medical Centre and the North Shore Hospital from January 2007 to March 2011. RESULTS: Sixty women with VTE were identified, 31 and 29 in the antepartum and post-partum period respectively. VTE occurred as early as 8 weeks of gestation. There was a trend towards higher proportion of PE in the postpartum period. Most antenatal patients were started on enoxaparin and dosed according to weight at diagnosis. A wide variability in maintenance dosing strategies was observed. Three (5%, 95% CI: 1% to 14%) patients suffered major bleeds, all occurring post-partum. Recurrences occurred in two post-partum patients who received a truncated course of enoxaparin for distal deep-vein thrombosis. Although more women had an induction of labour, this did not translate into an increased Caesarean section rate. CONCLUSION: The epidemiology of pregnancy-related VTE is similar to that of other developed countries. All three bleeding events occurred in the immediate post-partum setting, highlighting the need for caution at this critical time. VTE recurrences occurred in those women with post-partum distal deep-vein thrombosis treated with an abbreviated course of enoxaparin.
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