Early, Incomplete, or Preclinical Autoimmune Systemic Rheumatic Diseases and Pregnancy Outcome

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Objective: To evaluate the impact of preclinical systemic autoimmune rheumatic disorders on pregnancy outcome. Methods: In this longitudinal cohort study, patients were enrolled during the first trimester of pregnancy if they reported having had connective tissue disorder symptoms, were found to be positive for circulating autoantibodies, and on clinical evaluation were judged to have a preclinical or incomplete rheumatic disorder. The incidence of fetal growth restriction (FGR), preeclampsia, and adverse pregnancy outcomes in patients with preclinical rheumatic disorders was compared with that in selected controls, after adjustment for confounders by penalized logistic regression. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated. Results: Of 5,232 women screened, 150 (2.9%) were initially diagnosed as having a suspected rheumatic disorder. After a mean ± SD postpartum follow-up of 16.7 ± 5.5 months, 64 of these women (42.7%) had no clinically apparent rheumatic disease and 86 (57.3%) had persistent symptoms and positive autoantibody results, including 10 (6.7%) who developed a definitive rheumatic disease. The incidences of preeclampsia/FGR and of small for gestational age (SGA) infants were 5.1% (23 of 450) and 9.3% (42 of 450), respectively, among controls, 12.5% (8 of 640) (OR 2.7 [95% CI 1.1–6.4]) and 18.8% (12 of 64) (OR 2.2 [95% CI 1.1–4.5]), respectively, among women with no clinically apparent disease, and 16.3% (14 of 86) (OR 3.8 [95% CI 1.9–7.7]) and 18.6% (16 of 86) (OR 2.3 [95% CI 1.2–4.3]), respectively, among those with persisting symptoms at follow-up. Mean ± SD umbilical artery Doppler pulsatility indices were higher among women with no clinically apparent disease (0.95 ± 0.2) and those with persisting symptoms (0.96 ± 0.21) than in controls (0.89 ± 0.12) (P = 0.01 and P < 0.001, respectively). Conclusion: In our study population, preclinical rheumatic disorders were associated with an increased risk of FGR/preeclampsia and SGA. The impact of these findings and their utility in screening for FGR/preeclampsia need to be confirmed in population studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2555-2562
Number of pages8
JournalArthritis and Rheumatology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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