Is breathlessness a symptom of APS?

I am pregnant and have had one previous pregnancy which ended when i lost my baby at 22 weeks and from the very beginning of each pregnancy (the first 2 weeks) I had extreme shortness of breath on minimal exertion, for example walking a very short distance or getting dressed can have me huffing and puffing and exercise e.g gentle swimming which I have no problem with when not pregnant has me out of breath for about an hour, so I don't exercise when pregnant. I never had any problem breathing when not pregnant. My GP thought I have a kind of pregnancy asthma and put me on inhalers which help a little, but since I'm newly diagnosed with aps I'm wondering now could it be related. My consultant who tested me for aps didn't seem to think the two were related though. I'm on aspirin and heparin injections for about a week now, I still feel breathless but I feel as though it's improved a little bit. Just wondering if anyone else had this?

11 Replies

  • Hi, I can't offer medical advice, however please do get this regularly checked, if it becomes uncomfortable see medical advice, as it is best to be over monitored rather than under in these situations, is your team looking after you well? I was a bit huff and puff at the end of each pregnancy, but all was ok! MaryF

  • I'm only 10 weeks pregnant so I don't really have any excuse for the huffing and puffing, but maybe it is just a kind of asthma. I have my first appointment in 2 weeks time but I've been assured by the nurse there that I will be watched really carefully

  • Kateg: For patients with APS, the first thing that should come to a doctor's mind if you have shortness of breath is PE, pulmonary embolus which is blood clotting in the lung arteries because it can be fatal if the diagnosis is missed. PE may cause chest pain and shortness of breath, but it can also cause just shortness of breath, just chest pain and sometimes it can present in less typical ways. It may cause an increased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, increased breathing rate and/or decreased oxygen level, but sometimes all of these things are normal. It can also cause specific EKG changes. Pregnancy is a hypercoagulable state for all women and APS is a hypercoagulable condition, putting you at higher risk of blood clots than the average woman. Heparin is the treatment for blood clots, but you are likely on a lower dose than is currently used to treat blood clots if you have never had a blood clot.

    I would recommend you see an internist, not an OB, and let him/Or her know you are having SOB and want to be properly evaluated to be sure it is not blood clotting in your lungs. They should examine you, listen to a detailed description of your symptoms, and check your vital signs. Based on all of that, If they are concerned it could be PE, unfortunately the only way to definitively rule this out is with CT scan or V/Q scan, both of which expose the fetus to radiation. The d-dimmer blood test cannot be used reliably in pregnancy, becuase pregnancy causes elevations in the test.

  • Well said- I agree with Salty. I have pulmonary embolism and pulmonary hypertension and it goes with APS.

    This was the first thing I thought of when you mentioned breathlessness. Ask them perhaps also to give you an Echocardiograhpy if necessary.

    Best wishes from Kerstin in Stockholm

  • thanks for the replies. is an echocardiography safe for my baby?

  • Hi,

    I should not have mentioned the Echo as I am not a doctor and I do not want to worry you. I have made several Echos with doppler to diagnose my pulmonary hypertension. It is quite harmless for you and hopefully for your baby. It is important to get it medicaly checked though.

    Best of luck from Kerstin in Stockholm.

  • No I understand. I don't have any chest pain so hopefully it's nothing too serious but I found it quite strange and worrying in both pregnancies because I've never had any asthma symptoms when not pregnant and the from the moment I'm pregnant I am really short of breath. I will bring it up with my doctor.

  • Hi kateg84, just a thought - have you been checked for anaemia? I found myself breathless towards the end of the first trimester of my pregnancy, and a routine blood test showed I had mild anaemia (didn't feel very mild!). I had been diagnosed with primary APS after several miscarriages, and consequently prescribed heparin and aspirin. After an eventful and worrying pregnancy I finally gave birth to a lovely baby boy 15 years ago. Good luck and all the best!

  • Hi, I was the same with my pregnancy. Have you checked your ferritin & hematocrit ?

  • Hey, thanks for the replies. Yeah I thought of that, I do get anaemic easily but I'm having regular blood tests and taking iron tablets so I'm not at the moment.

  • although, I don't think they checked my ferritin levels

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