Pregnancy outcomes in women with cardiothoracic transplants: A Systematic review and meta-analysis Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Increasing numbers of women with thoracic transplants are planning and continuing pregnancies. However, pregnancy outcomes and risks to the mother and baby have not been systematically assessed. MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Central were searched from their inception to January 2018, to identify studies reporting outcomes on 3 or more pregnancies following thoracic transplants. Pooled incidences were calculated using a random-effect meta-analysis. Risk-of-bias was assessed using the Joanna Briggs Checklist for case series. Subgroup analysis was conducted based on the organ transplanted. Of the 3,658 records identified, 12 studies were included that reported on 385 pregnancies in 272 thoracic transplant recipients. Maternal complications included mortality (pooled incidence 0.5% [95% confidence intervals 0, 1.1%] during pregnancy and 15.4% [10.4, 20.3%] during follow-up, which ranged between 3 and 7 years), graft rejection (7.4% [4.2, 10.5%]), hypertensive disorders of pregnancy [26.6% [13.7, 39.6%]), and cesarean deliveries (41.4% [33.4, 48.7%]). Maternal mortality was more common in recipients of lung vs heart transplants (41.4% [23.4, 59.3] vs 10.8% [5.9, 15.8]), respectively. Although 78.4% (69.8, 86.9%) of the pregnancies resulted in live births, 51.2% (31, 71.3%) were born preterm and neonatal deaths occurred in 3.4% (1.3, 5.6%). Congenital anomalies affected 4.3% (1.8, 6.8%) of the newborns. Although few maternal deaths occurred during pregnancy, in keeping with median survival data, delayed mortality for thoracic transplant recipients remains high. Despite the high numbers of live births, these pregnancies continue to be at risk for hypertensive disorders, graft rejection, preterm birth, and neonatal mortality. Prospectively gathered data from international registries should supplement these findings to better inform clinical counseling and practice.


  • Acuna, Sergio
  • Zaffar, Nusrat
  • Dong, Susan
  • Ross, Heather
  • D'Souza, Rohan

publication date

  • February 2020