Ocular vascular occlusion (OVO), first diagnosed during or immediately after giving birth, often reflects superposition of the physiologic thrombophilia of pregnancy on previously undiagnosed underlying familial or acquired thrombophilia associated with spontaneous abortion, eclampsia, or maternal thrombosis.
We describe OVO, first diagnosed during pregnancy or immediately postpartum, in three young females (ages 32, 35, 40) associated with previously undiagnosed familial thrombophilia.
Branch retinal artery occlusion (BRAO) occurred at 9 and 13 weeks gestation in two females, aged 32 and 35. Central retinal vein occlusion occurred immediately postpartum in a 40-year-old. One of the two females with BRAO subsequently developed eclampsia, and one had a history of unexplained first trimester spontaneous abortion. All three females were found to have previously unexplained familial thrombophilia. The two females with BRAO had low first trimester free protein S 42 (41%), lower normal limit (50%), and one of these two had high factor VIII (165%, upper normal limit 150%). The woman with central retinal vein occlusion had high factor XI (169%, upper normal limit 150%). Enoxaparin (40-60 mg/day) was started and continued throughout pregnancy in both females with BRAO to prevent maternal-placental thrombosis, and of these two females, one had an uncomplicated pregnancy course and term delivery, and the second was at gestational week 22 without complications at the time of this manuscript. There were no further OVO events in the two females treated with enoxaparin or in the untreated patient with postpartum eclampsia.
OVO during pregnancy may be a marker for familial or acquired thrombophilia, which confers increased thrombotic risk to the mother and pregnancy, associated with spontaneous abortion or eclampsia. OVO during pregnancy, particularly when coupled with antecedent adverse pregnancy outcomes, should prompt urgent thrombophilia evaluation and institution of thromboprophylaxis to prevent adverse maternal and fetal-placental thrombotic events.