Risks of subsequent pregnancies on mother and newborn in female heart transplant recipients.

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BACKGROUND: Female heart transplant recipients are able to carry pregnancies successfully. This study evaluates the effect of subsequent pregnancies on newborn and maternal outcomes and graft survival.

METHODS: Subjects were identified through a previously reported multicenter study, case reports from literature review, and recipients entered in the National Transplantation Pregnancy Registry. A retrospective analysis was completed of 35 heart transplant recipients with first pregnancies (FP) and 12 who had one or two additional pregnancies (P>1). Newborns were assessed for gestational age, neonatal birth weight, and complications. Maternal data included pregnancy outcome, peripartum complications, including infection and rejection, current graft function, and recipient survival.

RESULTS: Forty-seven pregnancies (35 FP and 12 P>1) from 35 heart transplant recipients were studied. FP outcomes included 26 live births (one set of twins), four miscarriages, and six therapeutic abortions, whereas P>1 outcomes included 11 live births (one set of twins), and two miscarriages. There was no significant difference between mean birth weights (2353+/-986 gm vs 2588+/-521 g, P>1 vs FP; mean+/-SD; p=NS) or prematurity incidence (<37 >weeks; 50% vs 40%; p=NS) for the live-born infants. Compared with the FP group, there was a trend toward increased neonatal complications in P>1 (40% vs 12%; p=NS). Complications were significantly more common in premature newborns compared with full-term newborns (33% vs 5%; p < 0.05). No structural malformations were identified in the live-born infants. Maternal complication rates were the same in both groups (40%). Of 28 recipients available for follow-up, the maternal survival rate was 75% for the FP group and 89% for the P> group. Mean rejection rate per year was slightly increased after pregnancy in the P>1 group. Surviving recipients had similar graft function by echocardiographic left ventricular ejection fraction.

CONCLUSIONS: Post-heart transplantation pregnancies often have successful outcomes, but there is a high incidence of prematurity and low birth weight. Subsequent pregnancies do not seem to significantly increase the incidence of complications in either the newborn or mother or increase graft rejection or failure. Larger studies of posttransplantation pregnancies may provide more definitive information.





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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Surgery

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