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Fertility, early menopause and pregnancy outcomes of patients with Takayasu’s arteritis

Published:January 21, 2023DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejogrb.2023.01.021

      Abstract

      Objectives

      The reproductive health of patients with Takayasu’s arteritis (TA) is an important issue. Systemic inflammation and treatments used in TA may affect female reproductive organs, leading to infertility, maternal and fetal morbidity, and early menopause. This study aimed to evaluate fertility, early menopause and pregnancy outcomes of patients before and after TA diagnosis. In addition, pregnancy morbidities following TA diagnosis were analysed for each cluster.

      Study design

      Two hundred and two patients with TA (184 females) who met the 1990 American College of Rheumatology criteria were registered in the prospective database of Hacettepe University Vasculitis Research Centre by the end of February 2020. Demographic and clinical features, comorbidities, distribution of vascular involvement, obstetric histories and outcomes were evaluated retrospectively. Patients with TA were classified according to novel proposed disease clusters. Early menopause was defined as menopause before 45 years of age.

      Results

      One hundred and twenty-one female patients with TA, for whom gynaecological records and marriage status could be obtained, were included in the study. Ninety-seven patients were married, of whom 12 (12.5%) patients were infertile. In total, there were 238 pregnancies in 83 female patients with TA: 203 before TA diagnosis, 35 after TA diagnosis, and two patients were diagnosed during pregnancy. Compared with the pre-diagnosis group, maternal complications were significantly more common in the post-diagnosis group [23 (11.3%) vs 9 (25.7%); p=0.048]. The most common maternal complication was gestational hypertension (12.1%). Fetal complications were common in both groups (21.5% pre-diagnosis vs 34.2% post-diagnosis; p=0.18), and included prematurity, intrauterine growth retardation and low birth weight. According to novel disease subsets, post-diagnosis patients were classified as C1 (n=3, 15.7%), C2 (n=9, 47.3%) or C3 (n=6, 31.5%). One patient could not be classified. There was no difference in obstetric outcomes between these subgroups. Early menopause was observed in 20 (16.5%) of 121 patients, but some patients had not yet reached 45 years of age.

      Conclusion

      Infertility was higher in patients with TA in comparison with the general population in Turkey (12.5% vs 8.6%), and the early menopause rate was lower in patients with TA (16.7% vs 36.1%). Pregnancies following a diagnosis of TA had more maternal complications than pre-diagnosis pregnancies. Fetal complications were more common both pre- and post-diagnosis. Chronic inflammation before TA diagnosis may lead to increased infertility and fetal complications.

      Keywords

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