JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW
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Intrahepatic Cholestasis in Pregnancy: Review of the Literature.

Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) is the most common hepatic disorder related to pregnancy in women. It usually develops within the third trimester of pregnancy and presents with pruritus as well as elevated levels of bile acid and/or alanine aminotransferase. Clinical signs quickly resolve after delivery; however, there is a high risk of the disorder recurring in subsequent pregnancies. ICP is associated with an increased risk of perinatal complications (premature birth, respiratory disorders, even stillbirth). Elevated levels of gestational hormones and genetic predispositions are important factors for the development of ICP; among the latter, mutations in hepatobiliary transport proteins (multidrug resistance protein 3-MDR3, bile salt export pump- BSEP) play a major role. Clinical and biochemical symptoms of ICP include pruritus and increased levels of total bile acids (TBA). Serum levels of TBA should be monitored in ICP patients throughout the pregnancy as concentrations above 40 μmol/L, which define that severe ICP isassociated with an increased risk of fetal complications. Therapeutic management is aimed at reducing the clinical symptoms, normalizing maternal biochemistry and preventing complications to the fetus. Pharmacological treatment of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy consists of the administration of ursodeoxycholic acid to lower the levels of TBA and possibly reduce pruritus. If the treatment fails, premature delivery should be considered.

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