Thrombocytopenia during pregnancy in women with HIV infection receiving no treatment

H M Sebitloane



Background. Thrombocytopenia (TCP) complicates 5 - 8% of pregnancies. Most cases of TCP are gestational, and the condition is usually mild and occurs in the latter part of pregnancy. Apart from pregnancy-associated medical complications such as pre-eclampsia, HIV infection is a recognised cause of TCP, and a relatively high prevalence of TCP during pregnancy would be expected in a setting with a high antenatal seroprevalence of HIV.

Methods. This was a sub-analysis of the data from a prospective trial in which the incidence of postpartum sepsis in HIV-infected women was compared with that in HIV-uninfected women. Women who were considered at low risk and eligible for vaginal delivery were recruited at 36 weeks’ gestation, and followed up for 6 weeks after delivery. Full blood counts and CD4counts of HIV-infected women were obtained at baseline and repeated 6 weeks after delivery.

Results. The prevalence of TCP was 5.3% during pregnancy and 1.2% 6 weeks after delivery. The prevalence was similar among HIV-infected (6.0%) and HIV-uninfected women (4.7%) (p=0.292). Among the HIV-infected women, who were not receiving antiretroviral therapy (mean CD4 cell count of 453 cells/µL), there was no significant association between immunosuppression and the severity of TCP.

Conclusions. Most of the TCP seen during pregnancy is of the gestational variety, and in this study HIV infection did not increase its prevalence or its severity. 

Author's affiliations

H M Sebitloane, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, School of Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Thrombocytopenia; Pregnancy; HIV

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2016;106(2):210-213. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i2.9903

Article History

Date submitted: 2015-07-20
Date published: 2016-01-05

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