Mechanical Prosthetic Valves and Pregnancy : A therapeutic dilemma of anticoagulation

Prashanth Panduranga, Mohammed El-Deeb, Chitra Jha

Abstract


Choosing the best anticoagulant therapy for a pregnant patient with a mechanical prosthetic valve is controversial and the published international guidelines contain no clear-cut consensus on the best approach. This is due to the fact that there is presently no anticoagulant which can reliably decrease thromboembolic events while avoiding damage to the fetus. Current treatments include either continuing oral warfarin or substituting warfarin for subcutaneous unfractionated heparin or low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) in the first trimester (6–12 weeks) or at any point throughout the pregnancy. However, LMWH, while widely-prescribed, requires close monitoring of the blood anti-factor Xa levels. Unfortunately, facilities for such monitoring are not universally available, such as within hospitals in developing countries. This review evaluates the leading international guidelines concerning anticoagulant therapy in pregnant patients with mechanical prosthetic valves as well as proposing a simplified guideline which may be more relevant to hospitals in this region.



Keywords


Heart Valve Prosthesis; Pregnancy; Warfarin; Low-Molecular-Weight Heparin; Thrombosis.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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