Background/objectives Pregnancy may potentiate the inherent hypercoagulability of the Fontan circulation, thereby amplifying adverse events. This study sought to evaluate thrombosis and bleeding risk in pregnant women with a Fontan.
Methods We performed a retrospective observational cohort study across 13 international centres and recorded data on thrombotic and bleeding events, antithrombotic therapies and pre-pregnancy thrombotic risk factors.
Results We analysed 84 women with Fontan physiology undergoing 108 pregnancies, average gestation 33±5 weeks. The most common antithrombotic therapy in pregnancy was aspirin (ASA, 47 pregnancies (43.5%)). Heparin (unfractionated (UFH) or low molecular weight (LMWH)) was prescribed in 32 pregnancies (30%) and vitamin K antagonist (VKA) in 10 pregnancies (9%). Three pregnancies were complicated by thrombotic events (2.8%). Thirty-eight pregnancies (35%) were complicated by bleeding, of which 5 (13%) were severe. Most bleeds were obstetric, occurring antepartum (45%) and postpartum (42%). The use of therapeutic heparin (OR 15.6, 95% CI 1.88 to 129, p=0.006), VKA (OR 11.7, 95% CI 1.06 to 130, p=0.032) or any combination of anticoagulation medication (OR 13.0, 95% CI 1.13 to 150, p=0.032) were significantly associated with bleeding events, while ASA (OR 5.41, 95% CI 0.73 to 40.4, p=0.067) and prophylactic heparin were not (OR 4.68, 95% CI 0.488 to 44.9, p=0.096).
Conclusions Current antithrombotic strategies appear effective at attenuating thrombotic risk in pregnant women with a Fontan. However, this comes with high (>30%) bleeding risk, of which 13% are life threatening. Achieving haemostatic balance is challenging in pregnant women with a Fontan, necessitating individualised risk-adjusted counselling and therapeutic approaches that are monitored during the course of pregnancy.
- Fontan physiology
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Contributors AG and GRV are primarily responsible for the conceptualisation, planning, data analysis and writing. ZG and NO are responsible for the primary statistical analysis and contributed to the manuscript. MF is responsible for project management and coordination, including data collection. DZ, AMV, PGP, KEE, ML, JWR-H, CW, SLP, SG, HK, NN, SC, MC, TA, JG, EB, YB, JPV, NW, JA, EO, HB, WK, WMB and BJMM contributed to conceptualisation, data collection and editing of the manuscript. The corresponding author has the right to grant on behalf of all authors and does grant on behalf of all authors, an exclusive license (or non-exclusive for government employees) on a worldwide basis to the BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and its Licensees to permit this article (if accepted) to be published in HEART editions and any other BMJPGL products to exploit all subsidiary rights.
Funding The Heart Institute, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, 333 Burnett Avenue, Cincinnati.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data is available upon reasonable request and upon agreement of the coathors and individual insitutions
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