HealthDay News — Women with congenital heart disease (CHD) use a spectrum of contraceptive methods, with barrier methods and oral contraception preferred, according to a study published in The American Journal of Cardiology.

Pamela D. Miner, RN, from the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues recruited women aged >18 years from 9 adult CHD (ACHD) centers to examine contraceptive practices. A 48-item questionnaire was completed by 505 participants, and their medical records were reviewed.

The researchers found that 86% percent of participants had used contraception, including barrier methods (87%) and oral contraception (84%), as well as intrauterine device (18%), Depo-Provera (15%), vaginal ring (7%), patch (6%), hormonal implant (2%), Plan B (19%), and sterilization (16%). There was no difference in oral contraception use by complexity of CHD. Compared to those with less complex CHD, women with CHD of great complexity were more likely to report a thrombotic event while taking oral contraception (9% vs 1%; P =.003). Forty-three percent of subjects reported contraception counseling by the ACHD team. Twenty-five percent of women reported unplanned pregnancy, with no significant difference based on CHD complexity.

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“Contraceptive practices of women with complex CHD are highly variable, and the prevalence of blood clots while taking oral contraceptives is not insignificant, while provision of contraception counseling by ACHD providers appears lacking,” the authors write.

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Miner PD, Canobbio MM, Pearson DD, et al. Contraceptive practices of women with complex congenital heart disease. Am J Cardiol. 2017;6:911-915. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2016.11.047