Critical illness in obstetric patients: Venous thromboembolism in pregnancy

Sanjeev Daya Chunilal, Wee Shian Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


During pregnancy, the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) increases 2-5 fold and pulmonary embolism (PE) remains a leading cause of maternal mortality in developed countries. For pregnant women with suspected deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or PE, the use of serial compression leg ultrasound (CUS) should be considered to exclude DVT whereas a normal ventilation perfusion lung scan likely excludes PE. A computer tomographic pulmonary angiogram (CTPA) could assist in ruling out PE in women who present with an abnormal chest radiograph. Low molecular weight heparins (LMWH) are the agents of choice for treatment and thromboprophylaxis of pregnant patients with VTE but appropriate dosing changes throughout pregnancy remain uncertain. Women with previously unprovoked VTE and those in whom VTE are provoked by previous pregnancies or use of oral contraceptive are at highest risk of VTE recurrence during pregnancy, and should be offered antepartum and postpartum thromboprophylaxis. On the other hand, women with prior VTE related to a transient risk factor would benefit from postpartum thromboprophylaxis. More research is needed to identify the absolute risk of VTE during pregnancy associated with more prevalent risk factors such as maternal age, obesity, and mode of delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-202
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent Women's Health Reviews
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Low molecular weight heparin
  • Pregnancy
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Thrombolysis
  • Thromboprophylaxis

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