Report from the National Transplantation Pregnancy Registry (NTPR): outcomes of pregnancy after transplantation.

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Female solid organ recipients with good graft function generally tolerate pregnancy well. However, the combination of mother, fetus, transplanted organ, and immunosuppressive and other medications increases the complexity of management and raises the specter of adverse outcomes. For the mother, considerations include the nature of the original disease (i.e. genetic risk of transmission), co-morbid conditions which increase pregnancy risk (i.e. hypertension, diabetes, renal insufficiency), and long-term maternal prognosis. For the fetus, questions include the adequacy of maternal physiology (cardiac, renal, glycernic control, etc.), exposure to medications, and exposure to infectious agents. The transplanted organ must accommodate the increased workload of pregnancy and the needs of the fetus. The delicate balance between immunosuppression and rejection may be altered by the pregnancy. The impact of pregnancy on recurrent disease can also be an issue. Medication issues include changes in drug pharmacokinetics and the potential for adverse effects on the fetus. These effects could include chromosomal aberrations, structural malformations, organ-specific toxicity, intrauterine growth retardation, and immune system development. For female kidney recipients there are sufficient data to demonstrate a direct relationship between creatinine levels before and during pregnancy and risk of graft loss in the postpartum period. Pregnancy itself does not appear to adversely affect stable graft function. Among liver recipients, those with recurrent viral hepatitis may have deterioration of graft function with subsequent pregnancies. These recipients should be apprised accordingly, as maternal deaths have occurred in this setting. Postpartum depression and potential for medication noncompliance require vigilance. The safety of pregnancy from the NTPR analysis to date has been largely derived from the experience with CsA-based regimens. For recipients on CsA there have been good maternal outcomes without any specific or predominant malformation patterns in the offspring. For the general population, malformations occur in approximately 3% of live births. To date, there is no indication that this incidence has increased despite the complex medical regimens of transplant recipients. Data are accruing with tacrolimus and Neoral. Continuing data entry and continued follow-up of off-spring will allow for further recommendations, especially in light of the new medications and combinations. Recipients should be advised to wait one to 2 years after transplant before considering pregnancy. Those with stable graft function, and with no rejection, graft dysfunction, or deterioration should still be apprised of the high risk of prematurity and low birthweight, although maternal risks appear low. These are high-risk pregnancies, requiring close communication and cooperation between the high-risk obstetrician and the transplant team. The use of the FDA pregnancy categories should not be the sole reason for choosing a particular immunosuppressive drug. Agents such as Neoral and tacrolimus would appear to offer some advantage as blood levels can be measured. At present, no safety guidelines can be given for mycophenolate mofetil, OKT3, or ATG. Identification of prepregnancy factors predictive of higher risks and appropriate counseling and management guidelines are major NTPR goals, and depend on the continued assistance and cooperation of the transplant community.

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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Surgery

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