A new study suggests that women may be at increased risk of blood-clot complications for a longer period of time after childbirth than previously believed. Researchers assessed 1,687,930 women hospitalized in California for labor and delivery from 2005 to 2010. Claims data were evaluated to compare rates of stroke, heart attack and venous thromboembolism. Consistent with previous findings, they found that women's risk of a thrombotic event was 10.8 times higher during the first 6 weeks after birth compared to a corresponding period 12 months later. However, in the 7 to 12 week period after delivery, the women were still 2.2 times more likely to suffer a thrombotic event -- a modest but still significant level -- although the absolute risk was low. The increased risk diminished after 12 weeks. The authors point out that current guidelines recommend prophylactic anticoagulant therapy for high-risk patients until 6 weeks after delivery, but perhaps extended treatment should be considered, based on the findings. Read the study in The New England Journal of Medicine.
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