BackgroundKidney transplantation is the treatment of choice to restore fertility to women on renal replacement therapy. Over time, immunosuppressive, support therapies and approaches towards high-risk pregnancies have changed. The aim of this study was to analyse maternal-foetal outcomes in two cohorts of transplanted women who delivered a live-born baby in Italy in 1978-2013, dichotomized into delivery before and after January 2000. MethodsA survey involving all the Italian transplant centres was carried out, gathering data on all pregnancies recorded since the start of activity at each centre; the estimated nationwide coverage was 75%. Data on cause of ESRD, dialysis, living/cadaveric transplantation, drug therapy, comorbidity, and the main maternal-foetal outcomes were recorded and reviewed. Data were compared with a low-risk cohort of pregnancies from two large Italian centres (2000-14; Torino and Cagliari Observational Study cohort). ResultsThe database consists of 222 pregnancies with live-born babies after transplantation (83 before 2000 and 139 in 2000-13; 68 and 121 with baseline and birth data, respectively), and 1418 low-risk controls. The age of the patients significantly increased over time (1978-99: age 30.7 ± 3.7 versus 34.1 ± 3.7 in 2000-13; P < 0.001). Azathioprine, steroids and cyclosporine A were the main drugs employed in the first time period, while tacrolimus emerged in the second. The prevalence of early preterm babies increased from 13.4% in the first to 27.1% in the second period (P = 0.049), while late-preterm babies non-significantly decreased (38.8 versus 33.1%), thus leaving the prevalence of all preterm babies almost unchanged (52.2 and 60.2%; P = 0.372). Babies below the 5th percentile decreased over time (22.2 versus 9.6%; P = 0.036). In spite of high prematurity rates, no neonatal deaths occurred after 2000. The results in kidney transplant patients are significantly different from controls both considering all cases [preterm delivery: 57.3 versus 6.3%; early preterm: 22.2 versus 0.9%; small for gestational age (SGA): 14 versus 4.5%; P < 0.001] and considering only transplant patients with normal kidney function [preterm delivery: 35 versus 6.3%; early preterm: 10 versus 0.9%; SGA: 23.7 versus 4.5% (P < 0.001); risks increase across CKD stages]. Kidney function remained stable in most of the patients up to 6 months after delivery. Multiple regression analysis performed on the transplant cohort highlights a higher risk of preterm delivery in later CKD stages, an increase in preterm delivery and a decrease in SGA across periods. ConclusionsPregnancy after transplantation has a higher risk of adverse outcomes compared with the general population. Over time, the incidence of SGA babies decreased while the incidence of 'early preterm' babies increased. Although acknowledging the differences in therapy (cyclosporine versus tacrolimus) and in maternal age (significantly increased), the decrease in SGA and the increase in prematurity may be explained by an obstetric policy favouring earlier delivery against the risk of foetal growth restriction.
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