New research confirms that successful pregnancies are common for female liver transplant recipients. The study appearing in the June issue of Liver Transplantation, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, found miscarriage risk was lower and the live birth rate higher among women following liver transplantation than in the general U.S. population.
In 1978, Walcott et al. documented the first known pregnancy in a liver transplant recipient, which resulted in a successful delivery with both mother and infant in excellent health. Medical evidence reports there are currently 14,000 American women of reproductive age who have received liver transplants and another 500 undergo the procedure each year. While previous studies have documented good reproductive function in women following liver transplant, pregnancy outcomes and maternal-fetal risks assessments are limited.
For the present study, a team led by Dr. Dorry Segev, Director of Clinical Research in Transplant Surgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, Md., systematically reviewed medical literature articles from 2000 to 2011 to identify studies pertaining to pregnancy outcomes among liver transplant recipients. Maternal complications, delivery outcomes, birth information, and transplant-related data were also analyzed.
Eight studies met the inclusion criteria, which included 450 pregnancies among 306 liver transplant recipients. Following transplantation the live birth rate was 77% compared to 67% in birth in the general U.S. population. The rate was similar to the rate after kidney transplant at 77% and 74%, respectively. Miscarriages among women following kidney (14%) and liver (16%) transplants were lower than the general population (17%).