JOURNAL ARTICLE

Successful pregnancy in pulmonary arterial hypertension associated with systemic lupus erythematosus: a case report

Michael Streit, Rudolf Speich, Manuel Fischler, Silvia Ulrich
Journal of Medical Case Reports 2009 June 9, 3: 7255
19830150

INTRODUCTION: Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a complication of systemic lupus erythematosus. Mortality in pregnant patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension related to connective tissue disease is as high as 56%. The authors report the first case of a successful maternal-fetal outcome in a pregnant patient with systemic lupus erythematosus-associated pulmonary arterial hypertension treated with sildenafil and inhaled iloprost during pregnancy and until several weeks after caesarean section.

CASE PRESENTATION: The case presented is of a 29-year-old woman with systemic lupus erythematosus and associated severe pulmonary arterial hypertension. Vasodilator therapy with bosentan and sildenafil, immunosuppressive therapy with prednisone, hydroxychloroquine and azathioprine and oral anticoagulation (phenprocoumon) had normalized her right ventricular over right atrial pressure when she was diagnosed in her 5th week of pregnancy. The teratogenic drugs bosentan and phenprocoumon were stopped, the latter replaced by low molecular weight heparin. During the 35th week, a slight increase in pulmonary pressure was found. Therapy with inhaled iloprost was established. A caesarean section was performed in the 37th week and a healthy baby was delivered. The patient remained stable until 11 weeks after delivery, when an increase in right ventricular over right atrial pressure was noted. Bosentan was reintroduced and prednisone and azathioprine doses were increased. The patient has remained stable until the present time.

CONCLUSION: Pulmonary arterial hypertension has been considered a contraindication for pregnancy. Novel vasodilator therapy, combined with immunosuppressants in this patient with systemic lupus erythematosus, may "cure" pulmonary arterial hypertension and permit pregnancy with successful outcome. However, postpartum exacerbation of systemic lupus erythematosus and pulmonary arterial hypertension have to be considered.

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