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How Does Pregnancy and Type of Delivery Affect the Clinical Course of Hereditary Angioedema?

INTRODUCTION: Knowledge on the clinical course of hereditary angioedema (HAE) during pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding is very limited. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the course of HAE during these periods.

METHODS: The HAE attacks C1-INH prophylaxis before and during pregnancy and during breastfeeding, and the delivery types were retrospectively determined. The severity of attacks was assessed by a 10-point Visual Analogue Scale (VAS).

RESULTS: We evaluated 88 pregnancies in 48 HAE patients among whom 20 were primiparous. Among those who had a HAE diagnosis during pregnancy (n = 34), the median attack numbers before pregnancy, during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and after breastfeeding were 17, 39, 24, and 14 (before pregnancy vs. pregnancy, p < 0.001; during pregnancy vs. breastfeeding, p = 0.001). The mean VASs (SD) were 6.59 (1.82), 8.33 (1.58), 7.32 (1.66), and 6.95 (1.90) (before pregnancy vs. pregnancy, p < 0.001; during pregnancy vs. breastfeeding, p = 0.016), respectively. Among those who received a HAE diagnosis after pregnancy (n = 54), the number (59.3%) and the severity (60%) of HAE attacks were high in pregnancy. 47 of the deliveries were normal vaginal delivery (NVD). Regional anesthesia was applied in 8 NVDs. 20 of caesarean deliveries were performed under general anesthesia, and 21 were under spinal anesthesia. Lowest numbers of attacks were found in patients who did not receive anesthesia during NVD (p = 0.001).

CONCLUSION: The course of HAE can be worse during pregnancy and breastfeeding. NVD is related to fewer HAE attacks and prophylaxis with C1-INH during NVD is not necessary to prevent a HAE attack.

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