Clinical correlates of plasma antithrombin and protein C levels in patients with pre-eclampsia and eclampsia in Sokoto, Northwest Nigeria

Abubakar U. Musa, Aisha I. Mamman, Abubakar A. Panti, Abdul Wahab Alhassan, Anas F. Rabi'u


Background: Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy complicate 17% of pregnancies in Sokoto, Nigeria with pre-eclampsia and eclampsia accounting for 6% and 4.29% respectively. Pre-eclampsia and eclampsia stand out as major causes of poor pregnancy outcomes with eclampsia contributing 46% of adolescent maternal mortality in Sokoto. These disorders increase risk of venous thromboembolism, DIC, placental abruption, IUGR, premature delivery and recurrent pregnancy loss. The roles of antithrombin and protein C in disease severity and outcomes of pregnancies in pre-eclampsia/eclampsia are subject of recent researches albeit with conflicting findings. The aim of the study was to determine the plasma antithrombin and protein C levels of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia in Sokoto with a view to assessing any relationship with clinical severity and pregnancy outcomes.

Methods: Prospective comparative study involving 31 each of pregnant women with pre-eclampsia, eclampsia and normotensive pregnancy. Plasma antithrombin and protein C levels were determined via kinetic method using S4 Nortek semi-automated coagulometer. Data analysis was performed using SPSS version 21.0.  

Results: The mean plasma antithrombin and protein C levels for eclampsia, pre-eclampsia and normotensive pregnancy were (61.17±9.13 and 60.00±5.76) vs (71.24±13.15 and 71.06±6.16) vs (85.54±8.77 and 89.64±7.61) respectively; p=0.0001. Severe pre-eclampsia when compared with mild pre-eclampsia had lower antithrombin (70.21±13.58 vs 73.74±12.43; p=0.507) and protein C (70.52±6.27 vs 72.40±6.00; p=0.451) levels respectively, though without statistical significance. Pre-eclampsia with low plasma antithrombin levels had increased risk of preterm delivery when age, gravidity and booking status were factored (OR, 1.2, 95% CI 0.035 to 0.348, p=0.017).

Conclusions: Lower plasma antithrombin and protein C levels were found with eclampsia and severe pre-eclampsia suggesting consumptive depletion of anticoagulants with disease progression. Women with pre-eclampsia and low plasma antithrombin levels were found to have increased odds of having preterm delivery when age, gravidity and booking status were considered.


Antithrombin, Protein C, Pre-eclampsia, Eclampsia, Pregnancy, Sokoto

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