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SMFM Consult Series #61: Anticoagulation in pregnant patients with cardiac disease

Pregnancy in individuals with a mechanical heart valve has been classified as very high risk because of a substantially increased risk of maternal mortality or severe morbidity. Lifelong therapeutic anticoagulation is a principal component of the medical management of mechanical heart valves to prevent valve thrombosis. Anticoagulation regimens indicated outside of pregnancy for patients with mechanical valves should be continued during pregnancy with the possibility of modifications based on the type of valve, the trimester of pregnancy, individual risk tolerance, and circumstances around the time of delivery. The purpose of this document is to provide recommendations regarding the management of anticoagulation for common cardiac conditions complicating pregnancy, including mechanical heart valves, atrial fibrillation, systolic heart failure, and congenital heart disease.

Key words: anticoagulation, congenital heart disease, mechanical heart valves