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Thromboembolic Disease and Pregnancy: Are All Women Equal?

Richard V. Lee, MD
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State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14222. Requests for Reprints: Richard V. Lee, MD, 7664 East Quaker Road, Orchard Park, NY 14127.

Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1996;125(12):1001-1003. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-125-12-199612150-00012
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Pregnancy primes women to form clots [1]. Circulating levels of various clotting factors-fibrinogen and factors VII, VIII, IX, X, and XII-increase during gestation. Concentrations of some inhibitors of coagulation, such as free and total protein S, decrease during pregnancy. What is truly remarkable is the rarity, given the potential for the formation of clots, of serious thromboembolic events in pregnant women. The mechanisms whereby the blood of a healthy woman remains liquid during gestation are, for the most part, obscure.

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