Aspirin or heparin or both for improving pregnancy outcomes in women with persistent antiphospholipid antibodies and recurrent pregnancy loss

52Citations
Citations of this article
296Readers
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.

This article is free to access.

Abstract

Background: Aspirin and heparin are widely used as preventive strategy to reduce the high risk of recurrent pregnancy loss in women with antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL). This review supersedes a previous, out-of-date review that evaluated all potential therapies for preventing recurrent pregnancy loss in women with aPL. The current review focusses on a narrower scope because current clinical practice is restricted to using aspirin or heparins, or both for women with aPL in an attempt to reduce pregnancy complications. Objectives: To assess the effects of aspirin or heparin, or both for improving pregnancy outcomes in women with persistent (on two separate occasions) aPL, either lupus anticoagulant (LAC), anticardiolipin (aCL) or aß2-glycoprotein-I antibodies (aß2GPI) or a combination, and recurrent pregnancy loss (two or more, which do not have to be consecutive). Search methods: We searched Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth’s Trials Register, ClinicalTrials.gov, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) (3 June 2019), and reference lists of retrieved studies. Where necessary, we attempted to contact trial authors. Selection criteria: Randomised, cluster-randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials that assess the effects of aspirin, heparin (either low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) or unfractionated heparin (UFH]), or a combination of aspirin and heparin compared with no treatment, placebo or another, on pregnancy outcomes in women with persistent aPL and recurrent pregnancy loss were eligible. All treatment regimens were considered. Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion criteria and risk of bias. Two review authors independently extracted data and checked them for accuracy and the certainty of the evidence was assessed using the GRADE approach. Main results: Eleven studies (1672 women) met the inclusion criteria; nine randomised controlled trials and two quasi-RCTs. The studies were conducted in the USA, Canada, UK, China, New Zealand, Iraq and Egypt. One included trial involved 1015 women, all other included trials had considerably lower numbers of participants (i.e. 141 women or fewer). Some studies had high risk of selection and attrition bias, and many did not include sufficient information to judge the risk of reporting bias. Overall, the certainty of evidence is low to very low due to the small numbers of women in the studies and to the risk of bias. The dose and type of heparin and aspirin varied among studies. One study compared aspirin alone with placebo; no studies compared heparin alone with placebo and there were no trials that had a no treatment comparator arm during pregnancy; five studies explored the efficacy of heparin (either UFH or LMWH) combined with aspirin compared with aspirin alone; one trial compared LMWH with aspirin; two trials compared the combination of LMWH plus aspirin with the combination of UFH plus aspirin; two studies evaluated the combination of different doses of heparin combined with aspirin. All trials used aspirin at a low dose. Aspirin versus placebo. We are very uncertain if aspirin has any effect on live birth compared to placebo (risk ratio (RR) 0.94, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.71 to 1.25, 1 trial, 40 women, very low-certainty evidence). We are very uncertain if aspirin has any effect on the risk of pre-eclampsia, pregnancy loss, preterm delivery of a live infant, intrauterine growth restriction or adverse events in the child, compared to placebo. We are very uncertain if aspirin has any effect on adverse events (bleeding) in the mother compared with placebo (RR 1.29, 95% CI 0.60 to 2.77, 1 study, 40 women). The certainty of evidence for these outcomes is very low because of imprecision, due to the low numbers of women involved and the wide 95% CIs, and also because of risk of bias. Venous thromboembolism and arterial thromboembolism were not reported in the included studies. Heparin plus aspirin versus aspirin alone. Heparin plus aspirin may increase the number of live births (RR 1.27, 95% CI 1.09 to 1.49, 5 studies, 1295 women, low-certainty evidence). We are uncertain if heparin plus aspirin has any effect on the risk of pre-eclampsia, preterm delivery of a live infant, or intrauterine growth restriction, compared with aspirin alone because of risk of bias and imprecision due to the low numbers of women involved and the wide 95% CIs. We are very uncertain if heparin plus aspirin has any effect on adverse events (bleeding) in the mother compared with aspirin alone (RR 1.65, 95% CI 0.19 to 14.03, 1 study, 31 women). No women in either the heparin plus aspirin group or the aspirin alone group had heparin-induced thrombocytopenia, allergic reactions, or venous or arterial thromboembolism. Similarly, no infants had congenital malformations. Heparin plus aspirin may reduce the risk of pregnancy loss (RR 0.48, 95% CI 0.32 to 0.71, 5 studies, 1295 women, low-certainty evidence). When comparing LMWH plus aspirin versus aspirin alone the pooled RR for live birth was 1.20 (95% CI 1.04 to 1.38, 3 trials, 1155 women). In the comparison of UFH plus aspirin versus aspirin alone, the RR for live birth was 1.74 (95% CI 1.28 to 2.35, 2 trials, 140 women). Authors' conclusions: The combination of heparin (UFH or LMWH) plus aspirin during the course of pregnancy may increase live birth rate in women with persistent aPL when compared with aspirin treatment alone. The observed beneficial effect of heparin was driven by one large study in which LMWH plus aspirin was compared with aspirin alone. Adverse events were frequently not, or not uniformly, reported in the included studies. More research is needed in this area in order to further evaluate potential risks and benefits of this treatment strategy, especially among women with aPL and recurrent pregnancy loss, to gain consensus on the ideal prevention for recurrent pregnancy loss, based on a risk profile.

Cite

CITATION STYLE

APA

Hamulyák, E. N., Scheres, L. J. J., Marijnen, M. C., Goddijn, M., & Middeldorp, S. (2020, May 2). Aspirin or heparin or both for improving pregnancy outcomes in women with persistent antiphospholipid antibodies and recurrent pregnancy loss. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley and Sons Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD012852.pub2

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free