Increased fetal loss in women with heritable thrombophilia Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: A successful outcome of pregnancy requires an efficient uteroplacental vascular system. Since this system may be compromised by disorders of haemostasis associated with a prothrombotic state, we postulated that maternal thrombophilia might be a risk factor for fetal loss. We studied the relation between heritable thrombophilic defects and fetal loss in a cohort of women with factor V Leiden or deficiency of antithrombin, protein C, or protein S. METHODS: We studied 1384 women enrolled in the European Prospective Cohort on Thrombophilia (EPCOT). Of 843 women with thrombophilia 571 had 1524 pregnancies; of 541 control women 395 had 1019 pregnancies. The controls were partners of male members of the EPCOT cohort or acquaintances of cases. We analysed the frequencies of miscarriage (fetal loss at or before 28 weeks of gestation) and stillbirth (fetal loss after 28 weeks of gestation) jointly and separately. FINDINGS: The risk of fetal loss was increased in women with thrombophilia (168/571 vs 93/395; odds ratio 1.35 [95% Cl 1.01-1.82]). The odds ratio was higher for stillbirth than for miscarriage (3.6 [1.4-9.4] vs 1.27 [0.94-1.71]). The highest odds ratio for stillbirth was in women with combined defects (14.3 [2.4-86.0]) compared with 5.2 (1.5-18.1) in antithrombin deficiency, 2.3 (0.6-8.3) in protein-C deficiency, 3.3 (1.0-11.3) in protein-S deficiency, and 2.0 (0.5-7.7) with factor V Leiden. The corresponding odds ratios for miscarriage in these subgroups were 0.8 (0.2-3.6), 1.7 (1.0-2.8), 1.4 (0.9-2.2), 1.2 (0.7-1.9), and 0.9 (0.5-1.5). Significantly more pregnancy terminations had been done in women with thrombophilia than in controls (odds ratio 2.9 [1.8-4.8]); this discrepancy was apparent in nine of 11 participating centres and for all thrombophilia subgroups. INTERPRETATION: Women with familial thrombophilia, especially those with combined defects or antithrombin deficiency, have an increased risk of fetal loss, particularly stillbirth. Our findings have important implications for therapy and provide a rationale for clinical trials of thromboprophylaxis for affected women with recurrent fetal loss.


  • Preston, FE
  • Rosendaal, FR
  • Walker, ID
  • Briët, E
  • Berntorp, E
  • Conard, J
  • Fontcuberta, J
  • Makris, M
  • Mariani, G
  • Noteboom, W
  • Pabinger, I
  • Legnani, C
  • Scharrer, I
  • Schulman, Sam
  • van der Meer, FJM

publication date

  • October 1996

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