Blood clots are a growing concern for pregnant women, and doctors must be more aware of their patient’s exposure to this not only during pregnancy but in the postpartum period as well. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently published new guidelines for “Thrombolism in Pregnancy” in Obstetrics & Gynecology. Venous thrombolism, when left unchecked, is a leading cause of maternal death in the United States.
The guidelines recommend that ob-gyns assess if the patient has a history of blood clots, prior deep vein thrombosis, or a family history of occurrence. SCD boots, which are sequential compression devices, can be used to help increase blood flow. Each boot slips over the leg and mechanically pumps to stimulate blood flow up through the deep leg veins. Unless there is a time issue as in an emergency c-section or if the patient is using anti-clotting medication, the compression booties can work on many different types of women.
“It’s an easy thing to do that really does not cause harm and could potentially help,” said Dr. Erin DuPree, deputy chief medical officer Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. Her medical center has used these compression devices for a few years at a cost of roughly $14 a patient.
SCD boots have been used in other surgical procedures and post-op settings and shown to lessen blood clot risk by two-thirds, says The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
“While warning signs in some women may be evident early in pregnancy, others will develop symptoms that manifest later in pregnancy or after the baby is born,” said Dr. Andra James, the founder of Duke University’s Women’s Hemostasis and Thrombosis Clinic. “It’s important for ob-gyns to adopt these recommendations to help reduce maternal death. The risk of VTE is increased during pregnancy and the consequences can be severe.”
Vascular PRNSM rents and sells compression equipment to companies that can provide the equipment for use in the hospital or home care setting. Vascular PRN is a leader in high-quality SCD equipment throughout the United States, and can send by overnight delivery when requested. Their website includes product images, sizing guides, and frequently asked questions to help professionals choose the right compression equipment for their patient.