Pregnancy issues in scleroderma

Merav Lidar*, Pnina Langevitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

Systemic sclerosis is a systemic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease affecting the skin and viscera, manifesting pathologically with microvascular lesions, perivascular infiltration by mononuclear cells and increased deposition of extracellular collagen. The rarity of the disease as well as its propensity to appear in the early 1940s, explain the low frequency of concurrent scleroderma and pregnancy. However, the marked female excess, as well as the trend for increasing maternal age due to social change and assisted reproductive technologies, renders heightened significance to issues of fertility, pregnancy course and pregnancy outcomes.In the past, scleroderma patients were thought to be at high risk for poor fetal and maternal outcome, but more current retrospective studies show that despite an increased frequency of prematurity and small for gestational age infants, overall maternal and neonatal survival is good. Hence, at present, with close monitoring and appropriate therapy most scleroderma patients can sustain a successful pregnancy. Therapy with hydroxychloroquine and low dose steroids as well as judicious use of intravenous immunoglobulins is permitted. Renal crisis remains the most dreaded complication of a scleroderma pregnancy and necessitates prompt institution of ACE inhibitor therapy despite its potential teratogenicity. In order minimize the risk for renal crisis, pregnancies should be avoided in rapidly progressive diffuse disease as such patients are at a greater risk for developing serious cardiopulmonary and renal problems early in the disease. This review shall focus on the bi-directional effects of scleroderma on fertility and pregnancy as well as on the management of pregnancy and delivery in the scleroderma patient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A515-A519
JournalAutoimmunity Reviews
Volume11
Issue number6-7
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Fertility
  • Pregnancy
  • Scleroderma
  • Systemic sclerosis

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