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Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2005 Dec;17(6):591-7.

Recurrent miscarriage: pathophysiology and outcome.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Imperial College, St. Mary's Campus, London, UK.



This article reviews new concepts in the aetiology of recurrent miscarriage, presents new outcome data and evaluates new modalities of treatment for unexplained recurrent miscarriage.


Preimplantation genetic diagnosis has been considered an option for couples who have structural chromosomal abnormalities or unexplained recurrent miscarriage. The association between thrombophilias and adverse pregnancy outcome is further reviewed. In relation to this, there is increasing support for the use of thromboprophylaxis in improving pregnancy outcome in women with inherited thrombophilias. Nonrandomized studies have shown that the reduction in insulin levels with metformin in insulin-resistant individuals may reduce miscarriage risk by restoring normal haemostasis and improving the endometrial milieu. With respect to immunological concepts there is now evidence to suggest that, in addition to a suppression of maternal cell-mediated immunity, some elements of the innate immune system are activated in successful pregnancies.


With the exception of aspirin and heparin for the prevention of recurrent miscarriage in women with the antiphospholipid syndrome, no other suggested therapies for this heterogeneous group of patients have been evaluated in randomized controlled trials. These include thromboprophylaxis for inherited thrombophilias and use of insulin sensitizers in women with insulin resistance and/or polycystic ovarian syndrome. The role of the innate immune system in pregnancy was recently highlighted, and use of nonspecific therapies to suppress the maternal immune response to pregnancy should be reassessed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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