Wesseling J, Van Driel D, Heymans HS, Rosendaal FR, Geven-Boere LM, Smrkovsky M, Touwen BC, Sauer PJ, Van der Veer E
Anticoagulation during pregnancy is complicated because of potential risks for mother and foetus. Unfractionated or low-molecular-weight heparin is used for most anticoagulant indications. Its efficacy, however, in pregnant women with prosthetic heart valves is questioned, therefore coumarins are preferred for this indication. We studied long-term effects of prenatal coumarin-exposure on growth and on neurological, behavioural and cognitive development in 274 school-age children in comparison with 231 age-matched non-exposed controls. No major abnormalities were found. The exposed children had an increased risk for minor neurological dysfunction and for a low intelligence quotient (IQ below 80). The risk for a combination of two or more (minor) abnormalities was higher for the exposed children, RR = 7.6. We conclude that prenatal exposure to coumarins is associated with an increased risk for disturbances in development in school-age children. However, for the vast majority of children there is no clinical significant effect on growth and long-term development.
Department of Paediatrics, Beatrix Children's Hospital, University Hospital Groningen, The Netherlands.