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The study has concluded that the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis increases by as much as 18 times in women who have venous malformation and are taking combination pills as birth control measure.

Women with a Malformation of Left Iliac Vein, on Birth Control Pills, Run an Increased Risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis

Stenosis or narrowing of the left common iliac vein is a common problem with almost 25% people suffering from it. This vein is responsible for returning a large part of the blood from the lower half of the body to the heart for purification. A new study has found that women with a malformation of left common iliac vein, on birth control pills, run an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis.

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The study, published in The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has concluded that the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis increases (DVT) by as much as 18 times in women who have this venous malformation and are taking combination pills as birth control measure.

The study, led by Dr. Lawrence Hofmann and his colleagues at Stanford University School of Medicine, analyzed 35 women with DVT based on their MRI or CT scans and an equal number of women without the condition form the same age group. They found that DVT was 3.5 times more common in women with left common iliac vein stenosis. The condition was 5 times more likely in women taking combination pills. However, the risk of developing clots increased by a whopping 17.7 times in women who had both, iliac vein stenosis as well as were on combination pills.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a Dangerous Condition as the Blood Clot may Reach the Heart and the Lungs

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), also called as “economy class syndrome”, is a dangerous condition as the blood clot formed in the condition may dislodge from the vein and reach the heart and the lungs with serious complications. It affects every 1 in 3 of 10,000 women who do not use pills. However, in women taking combination pill, the risk of developing DVT goes up by 6 times.

Around 12 million women in U.S. alone use combination pills for birth control. These pills contain both estrogen and progesterone hormone.

In the study conducted by Hofmann et al, combination pills were being used by 37% women who had DVT and by 11% of the control group. Among the women with DVT, apart from pills, 63% had other risk factors too. These risk factors included hypercoaguable states like pregnancy and thrombophilia. 23% of controls also had these added risk factors. The women who had stenosis of the left common iliac vein and subsequently developed DVT, the veins were found to be 70% narrower than normal as compared to a narrowing of 56%, found in the control group.

Generally, every one percent increase in iliac vein stenosis above 70 percent increases the risk of thrombosis by five percent. However, in women using combination pill, every one percent increase in narrowing beyond 70% increases the risk of DVT by 500%.

Therefore, women suffering from a stenosis of the left common iliac vein should refrain from using combination pills. Similarly, in women on combination pills who develop DVT, stenosis of left common iliac vein may be suspected.

  • “Common vein problem raises clot risk on the Pill”, by David Douglas, Reuters, published on Aug 2, 2011, accessed on Aug 11, 2011.
  • “Common iliac vein stenosis: A risk factor for oral contraceptive-induced deep vein thrombosis”, Lawrence V Hofmann, Keith T Chan, et al, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, online July11, 2011, accessed on Aug 11, 2011
  • Photo courtesy of lemoneatingmachine on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/lemoneatingmachine/4933643264

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