|Vascular Complications of Systemic Sclerosis during Pregnancy|
|Friday, 06 August 2010 21:19|
Eliza F. Chakravarty, MD MS
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a chronic autoimmune disorder characterized by progressive fibrosis of the skin and visceral tissues as well as a non-inflammatory vasculopathy. Vascular disease in systemic sclerosis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among non-pregnant patients with SSc, and is even a bigger concern in the pregnant SSc patient, as the underlying vasculopathy may prevent the required hemodynamic changes necessary to support a growing pregnancy.
Vascular manifestations including scleroderma renal crisis and pulmonary arterial hypertension should be considered relative contraindications against pregnancy due to the high associations of both maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. In contrast, Raynaud’s phenomenon may actually improve somewhat during pregnancy. Women with SSc who are considering a pregnancy or discover they are pregnancy require evaluation for the presence and extent of underlying vasculopathy. In the absence of significant visceral vasculopathy, most women with SSc can expect to have reasonable pregnancy outcomes.
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