Mechanical heart valves and pregnancy: Issues surrounding anticoagulation. Experience from two obstetric cardiac centres

Francois Dos Santos*, Lucia Baris, Alice Varley, Jerome Cornette, Joanna Allam, Philip Steer, Lorna Swan, Michael Gatzoulis, Jolien Roos-Hesselink, Mark R. Johnson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Pregnant women with mechanical heart valves are at significant risk of obstetric/cardiac complications. This study compares the anticoagulation management in two obstetric cardiac centres. Methods: Retrospective case-note review from Chelsea and Westminster/Royal Brompton Hospitals (CR) and Erasmus Medical Centre (EMC). Main outcome measure was mechanical heart valve thrombosis. Results: Nineteen pregnancies from CR and 25 pregnancies from EMC were included. Most women were on low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) throughout pregnancy at CR, whereas at EMC most had LMWH in the first trimester and vitamin K antagonists in subsequent trimesters. Peak anti-factor Xa were performed monthly at CR, levels 0.39–1.51 IU/mL (mean 0.82 IU/mL). Anticoagulation management peri-partum was inconsistent. Delivery was mainly by caesarean section at CR (74%) and vaginal delivery at EMC (64%). No maternal deaths and only one mechanical heart valve thrombosis at CR. Two mechanical heart valve thromboses and one maternal death at EMC. Conclusion: Peri-partum anticoagulation strategies, anticoagulation monitoring and mode of delivery inconsistencies reported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-101
Number of pages7
JournalObstetric Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
None. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


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