Report from the National Transplantation Pregnancy Registry (NTPR): outcomes of pregnancy after transplantation.
The NTPR maintains an ongoing database to study the outcomes of pregnancies in female transplant recipients as well as those pregnancies fathered by male transplant recipients. Recipients are entered into the database by completing. a single page questionnaire. There is steady follow-up of recipients and their offspring. While the majority of pregnancy outcomes have occurred in kidney recipients, data continue to accrue in the other types of organ recipients. KIDNEY: A small percentage of pregnancies in female kidney recipients are complicated by rejection with poorer outcomes with respect to both maternal graft function and their newborn. Other analyses this year focused on outcomes of recipients with systemic lupus erythematosus and those with multiple gestations. It was observed that recipients with systemic lupus erythematosus were able to maintain a pregnancy with outcomes that appear to be similar to other diagnoses. In an analysis of multiple gestations in female kidney recipients maintained on calcineurin inhibitors, no multiple gestations higher than triplets have been reported to the NTPR. Successful outcomes have been noted among these recipients. This does require continued surveillance, as there has been an increase in the number of multiple gestations in the general population with the use of adjunctive technologies. OTHER ORGANS: In analyzing outcomes in female liver recipients, no specific graft or newborn outcome differences have been noted when a comparison has been made between different caicineurin inhibitor regimens. Pregnancies in female pancreas-kidney recipients appear to be tolerated with respect to pancreas graft function with no diagnoses of gestational diabetes reported to the NTPR. Data continue to accrue among thoracic recipients. Poorer maternal survival postpartum in lung recipients may be related to higher risks inherent in this population and requires further experience and investigation. OTHER ISSUES: With the recent proliferation of newer immunosuppressive agents, a question that is raised is whether a regimen can be specifically designed with recipients of childbearing age in mind. Extensive data published on azathioprine and cyclosporine treated recipients suggests that while there is a pattern of prematurity among the newborn there has not been an increase in the incidence or pattern of specific malformations noted among the newborn. Less assurance can be given with newer agents such as sirolimus and MMF. Calcineurin inhibitor minimization or steroid withdrawal would require that other agents with less reproductive information be implemented. The unknown risk of teratogenicity must be balanced against the potential risk of rejection or graft dysfunction when deciding which agent to use during pregnancy. Through each of the organ recipient groups, there are sporadic cases of rejection, graft dysfunction, and graft deterioration. Birth defect patterns have not appeared to be specific to any specific regimen as yet. Two newborns with malformations have been noted among a limited series with MMF exposure, but other factors may also be at play. The use of MMF during pregnancy continues to be an unresolved issue in the transplant community. As yet, no one regimen has been identified as superior to another for use during pregnancy. Continued surveillance with the newer agents is necessary. Investigators have taken differing views regarding the safety of breastfeeding in the transplant recipient population, especially with regard to drug exposure to the infant. This issue remains unresolved and some transplant recipient mothers have chosen to breastfeed. Other factors for consideration are the potential long-term effects on offspring of transplant recipients. While there may not be specific structural defects noted at birth, more subtle effects on either immunologic or reproductive function may not manifest until later in life. Scott and his group in Utah have raised this issue with a case report and have initiated a study to focus on the next generation. The safety of pregnancy for parent and child remain the goals of the NTPR. Continued entries to the registry, especially in light of newer combinations of immunosuppressive agents, should assist in developing guidelines needed for management in this era of expanding immunosuppressive agents. All centers are encouraged to participate.
Published In/Presented At
Armenti, V. T., Radomski, J. S., Moritz, M. J., Gaughan, W. J., Philips, L. Z., McGrory, C. H., Coscia, L. A., & National Transplantation Pregnancy Registry (2002). Report from the National Transplantation Pregnancy Registry (NTPR): outcomes of pregnancy after transplantation. Clinical transplants, 121–130.
Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Surgery