Liver Transplantation No Bar to Successful Pregnancy

THURSDAY, June 14 (HealthDay News) -- Women who have had a liver transplant typically have successful pregnancies, according to a new study.

Researchers found that liver-transplant recipients had a lower miscarriage rate and a higher live-birth rate than women in the general population.

For the study, published in the June issue of the journal Liver Transplantation, researchers reviewed the findings of eight studies conducted between 2000 and 2011 that included 450 pregnancies among 306 liver-transplant recipients.

The live-birth rate among liver-transplant recipients was 77 percent, compared to 74 percent among kidney-transplant recipients and 67 percent in the general population. Miscarriage rates were 16 percent for liver-transplant recipients, 14 percent for kidney-transplant recipients and 17 percent for women in the general population, Dr. Dorry Segev, director of clinical research in transplant surgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, said in a journal news release.

Liver-transplant patients had higher rates of some pregnancy complications, including preeclampsia (22 percent), cesarean section (45 percent) and preterm delivery (39 percent), than women in the general population (4 percent, 21 percent and 13 percent, respectively).

But the rates of those pregnancy complications in liver-transplant patients were lower than in kidney-transplant patients at 27 percent, 54 percent and 46 percent, respectively. Liver-transplant recipients also had better deliveries than kidney-transplant recipients in terms of gestational age (37 weeks vs. 36 weeks) and infant birth weight (6 pounds vs. 5 pounds).

The researchers said their findings confirm that pregnancy is feasible among liver-transplant recipients, who need to work closely with their doctors to minimize risk and ensure good outcomes for themselves and their babies.

About 14,000 women of reproductive-age in the United States have had liver transplants, and about 500 receive a new liver each year.

-- Robert Preidt

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SOURCE: Liver Transplantation, news release, June 12, 2012