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A multicenter European survey of the attitudes to contraception in women at high risk or with established cardiovascular disease.

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1st Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Athens, Greece.



The survey was designed to study the attitudes of gynecologists from 11 European centers providing guidance in contraception to women at high risk and women with cardiovascular disease.


Attitudes were registered by means of a standard questionnaire.


Most contributors reported that, in women with venous thrombosis (10/11), deep venous thrombosis (10/11), coagulation disorders (11/11) and stroke (8/11), they prefer to prescribe methods other than combined oral contraceptives (COCs). A history of myocardial infarction was considered a relative contraindication and some experts suggested that, in some cases, the use of third-generation COCs may be possible. COCs were not recommended in women with severe cardiovascular disease and in those over 35 years of age with light or moderate cardiovascular disease, heavy smokers (over 20 cigarettes per day), or those presenting with severe hyperlipidemia.


The pill is not considered appropriate for women with clinically established cardiovascular diseases or in cases where more than two coronary risk factors exist. COCs may safely be given to women with elevated blood pressure as long as it is lower than 160/100 mmHg, in cases of light and moderate cardiovascular disease as long as the patient is less than 35 years of age, in women who are not heavy smokers, in the presence of a light or moderate degree of hyperlipidemia, and in uncomplicated diabetes mellitus provided that there are no additional risk factors. In these cases, third-generation COCs are preferred. The co-operation of the cardiologist is desirable in order to classify cardiovascular disease and for patient follow-up.

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