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J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2004 Aug;26(8):729-34.

Treatment of antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS) in pregnancy: a randomized pilot trial comparing low molecular weight heparin to unfractionated heparin.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of British Columbia,Vancouver.



To compare low molecular weight heparin (LMWH), specifically dalteparin, to unfractionated heparin (UFH) for the treatment of antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS) in pregnancy.


In a tertiary referral centre, 28 women met the 1999 International Consensus Criteria for APS, based on their obstetrical history and APS serology. The women were randomized, using a random numbers table with blocks of 12, to receive either prophylactic dosing of dalteparin or UFH starting either preconceptionally or early in pregnancy. All women also received low-dose acetylsalicylic acid, started preconceptionally. The primary outcome was a live birth. The secondary outcomes were maternal and fetal complications.


Of the 14 women who received the LMWH, dalteparin, and the 14 women who received UFH, 1 woman in each group did not conceive. Nine of the 13 women (69%) given dalteparin had a successful pregnancy (95% confidence interval [CI], 39-91%), compared to 4 out of the 13 women (31%) in the UFH group (95% CI, 9-61%). Nine women in total had spinal or epidural anaesthesia, and there were no complications overall.


Dalteparin may be an effective alternative to UFH for treatment of APS in pregnancy. A multicentre randomized trial is needed to determine benefit-to-risk ratios for the use of dalteparin and UFH to treat this high-risk obstetrical condition. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies are also recommended to maximize therapeutic response and minimize toxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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