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A Review of High Risk OB patients With PAH

Laura Savage

Janet Pinson

Daniel Grinnan

Charnetta Lester


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Conference: 2018 PHA International PH Conference & Scientific Sessions

Release Date: 06.28.2018

Presentation Type: Abstracts

File Download: Conference 2018_1063

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2018 International PH Conference and Scientific SeAbstract presented at the 2018 International PH Conference and Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Fla., June 28-July 1, 2018.


To describe a single center experience in the pregnant patient with pulmonary arterial hypertension.


Pulmonary hypertension (PH) remains a contraindication to pregnancy. However, with the increased number of proven treatment options, outcomes have improved. Despite these improvements in the pregnant patient, Kiely et al (2013) report maternal mortality between 12% and 33%. It is recognized that the right ventricle (RV) is the Achilles heel in PH. Due to progressive narrowing in the pulmonary arterial vasculature, RV afterload increases leading to right heart failure and even death. In pregnancy, the normal physiology changes significantly in relation to several factors. Oxygen consumption increases by 30% and blood volume can increase by 40-50% by 32-36 weeks' gestation (Weiss 2000 and Bonica 1995). These changes result in higher cardiac output. Accordingly, this strain on the RV can produce symptoms of failure, shortness of breath and edema. However, it has been shown that fluid shifts in the immediate post-partum period place the patient at the greatest risk of mortality and morbidity (Weiss 1998). In addition, it has been postulated that hormonal changes during pregnancy can be protective in their "vasodilatory" properties which is reduced immediately after delivery. Lastly, the "procoagulant effect may cause obstruction of the vasculature by thrombosis" (Keily 2013). This is thought to further compromise the narrowed vasculature in the pulmonary artery.


Restrospective review of our center's pregnant patients between 2006-2017. The following variables were identified: WHO group, treatment, age, race, management during pregnancy and in the post-partum period, maternal outcomes, and number of pregnancies.


This descriptive review from 2006-2017 reveals severity of disease, age at time of pregnancy, management strategies during and after pregnancy using a multi-disciplinary approach. The cohort consists of 8 women with 20 pregnancies among them. All of them were WHO Group 1:{2 - idiopathic, 3 - congenital heart disease, 2 - mixed connective disease, and 1 - CTEPH}. Demographics revealed: RACE - 2/8 Caucasians, 5/8 African American, 1/8 Asian. AGE range at the time of pregnancy: 19-33 years old. There was one maternal death post-partum (5%). All but one patient had multiple pregnancies. 50% of patients presented to an outside hospital during their pregnancy. 10/20 (50%) were managed at this center during their entire pregnancy.


PH remains a contraindication to pregnancy. However, it has been documented in one center's experience, that with a multi-disciplinary approach, early treatment, vigilant monitoring during pregnancy and post-partum,successful outcomes can occur. PH patients who became pregnant tended to have multiple pregnancies. For those patients known to our practice prior to pregnancy, they were routinely monitored and repeatedly counseled regarding the risks of pregnancy. Patients with financial and social resources tended to weigh the risk of pregnancy making a more informed decision to become pregnant and follow-up with recommended monitoring. Further study is needed to determine if pregnancy is more likely among socially and financially disadvantaged PH patients.