Pregnancy after thoracic organ transplantation

Semin Perinatol. 2007 Dec;31(6):354-62. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2007.09.005.


A growing number of heart, heart-lung, or lung transplant recipients are women of reproductive age. Fertility and pregnancy are important issues in this group of patients and often pose complex medical, psychosocial, and ethical problems. Many successful pregnancy outcomes have been reported following heart or lung transplantation. Nevertheless, these patients are at risk of certain maternal, fetal, and neonatal complications, including hypertension, preeclampsia, infection, preterm birth, and low birth weight. The physiological changes that occur in pregnancy are generally well tolerated by patients who have undergone thoracic organ transplant(s). The risk of allograft rejection during and after pregnancy is significant, and it is important to maintain an adequate level of immunosuppression. Pregnancies among lung transplant recipients are at higher risk for certain complications. The rate for graft rejection, independent of pregnancy status, is higher in this population. The long-term graft and patient outcomes citing a 50% 5-year mortality will be critical while counseling these patients regarding the impact of pregnancy on survival, and the ability to participate in raising the child. A multi-disciplinary team, involving specialists in maternal fetal medicine, cardiology or pulmonary medicine, transplant medicine, anesthesiology, high-risk nursing, neonatology, psychology, genetics, and social service, is crucial to the care of these patients. This team approach should be initiated at the time of pretransplant and preconception counseling and be continued through the prenatal and postpartum periods. The management plan should be individualized according to the status of the mother, the fetus, and the allograft. For most cases, given the need for close collaboration and frequent monitoring, these patients are best managed at their primary transplant institution in collaboration with local or referring physicians.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection
  • Heart Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Lung Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Patient Care Team
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Pregnancy, High-Risk*
  • Survival Rate


  • Immunosuppressive Agents