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Pregnant Women Who Develop Life-Threatening Blood Clots Should Receive Aggressive Treatment, Research At ISET 2012 Shows

MIAMI BEACH, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan 19, 2012 - Pregnant women who develop dangerous blood clots in the leg often forgo the most effective treatment for fear of harming the baby. Yet treatment to remove the clot is not only safe, it can prevent serious problems, including death, suggests research being presented at the 24th annual International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy (ISET).

Iliofemoral deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – a blood clot that forms deep in the thigh and pelvis – is four to six times more common in pregnant women than those who are not pregnant. This blood clot can break off and travel to the lung causing a potentially deadly condition called pulmonary embolism. When DVT is not treated early and effectively, the clot can become permanent, causing lifelong pain and blood flow problems in the leg. The most effective treatments include the minimally invasive delivery of clot-dissolving drugs directly to the clot, or surgery to remove them.

The study included 11 pregnant women with DVT: Nine were treated with minimally invasive techniques by guiding a tiny tube called a catheter into the clot to deliver clot-dissolving drugs, and two had surgery to remove the clot. Treatment successfully eliminated the clot in all cases. All but one of the pregnancies resulted in a successful birth. One woman in her second trimester miscarried a week after treatment. The woman suffered from antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, which causes the blood to clot abnormally and increases the risk of miscarriage, so the underlying condition likely was the cause of her miscarriage, researchers said. Three of the women had successful subsequent pregnancies.

Pregnant women who develop DVT typically are treated less aggressively with blood thinners, which rarely clears the clot.

“Pulmonary embolism is the leading cause of maternal death in North America,” said Anthony Comerota, M.D., director of the Jobst Vascular Institute at The Toledo Hospital, Ohio. “Physicians should use more effective treatment to prevent these women from having serious life-long problems that can affect their ability to function normally.”

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Contact: Media Contact for International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy
Marissa Ellenby, 312-558-1770



Posted: January 2012