By Michael Wong, JD (Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)
Editor’s Note: This is the first post in what we hope will become a regular series of opinion pieces which ask our readers to comment on what could be considered controversial. Maternal patients are at risk for venous thromboembolism (VTE, commonly referred to as blood clots), which has been identified as a patient safety issue. In this post, the question asked is whether the recent deaths of young women due to blood clots from taking birth control pills is also a patient safety issue.
Being pregnant increases the risks of blood clots. “For pregnant women, the risk of VTE is 4-5 times higher than women who are not pregnant,” says Andra James, MD (Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine). “Moreover, this risk is at least twice as much following cesarean delivery.”
Hypercoagulation during pregnancy is likely an adaptive mechanism to reduce the risk of hemorrhage during and after the delivery process.
Use of estrogen/progestogen oral contraception has also been associated with hypercoagulation.
Although some would debate the use of birth control, recent deaths associated with use of birth control suggest that there is a patient safety concern:
Tell us what you think about the relationship between blood clots and birth control pills.#BirthControl and #BloodClots: A #PatientSafety Concern? Click To Tweet