Pregnancy aspirin treatment can reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia, premature birth and other pregnancy complications, say some Australian researchers. "Aspirin, along with other antiplatelet drugs, are associated with moderate and consistent reductions in the occurrence of preeclampsia or preterm birth, before 24 weeks of pregnancy or other complications," - says Dr. Lisa M. Askie of the University from Sydney. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy problem in which multiple systems of the body are affected and is characterized by high blood pressure and proteinuria (suggesting serious kidney problems).
Preeclampsia can affect the blood vessels that feed the placenta causing a disturbance of blood circulation and formation of thrombi (blood clotting). This condition can occur in 2-8% of cases and accounts for almost 15% of the 500,000 pregnancy-related mortality cases worldwide each year. Askie's group conducted a meta-analysis, which included more than 32,217 women with 32,819 babies. Most pregnant women received aspirin (98% cases) or other anti-platelet medications such as heparin or dipuridamole. Platelets (blood platelets) are cells that help the blood to coagulate to prevent excessive bleeding or bleeding.
Therefore, anti-platelet medications can reduce the number of these cells - platelets, thus reducing the risk of thrombi or future myocardial infarction - most commonly seen in high blood pressure. The results of this meta-analysis suggest that treatment with anti-platelet drugs during pregnancy may have certain benefits, including reducing the risk of pre-eclampsia or preterm birth. This information should be discussed with pregnant women who are at risk of having preeclampsia to help them be more informed about the choices they are about to make.
The researchers found that women treated with anti-platelet agents had a 10% reduction in the risk of preeclampsia, premature birth or other pregnancy complications. In contrast, anti-platelet medications do not reduce the risk of fetal mortality or bleeding episodes. Research suggests that more frequent use of aspirin or other anti-platelet medications during pregnancy may be medically useful to the public, particularly for women at high risk for preeclampsia.
There are cases where preeclapsia will exist, regardless of prevention treatment, including women who are on second pregnancy and have had preeclampsia or women with high blood pressure and preeclampsia. For these women, "aspirin is justified," says Dr. James M. Roberts and Dr. Janet M. Catov of the University of Pittsburgh.
May 18, 2007