Drug-resistant tuberculosis and pregnancy: treatment outcomes of 38 cases in Lima, Peru

Clin Infect Dis. 2009 May 15;48(10):1413-9. doi: 10.1086/598191.


Background: Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) disproportionately affects young adults, including women of childbearing age; however, treatment of MDR-TB during pregnancy is still controversial. This study looks at the treatment and pregnancy outcomes in a cohort of women who were treated for MDR-TB during pregnancy during a period of 10 years.

Methods: A retrospective case study was performed using a standardized data collection form and data from 3 ranked sources of patient records. All 38 participants were treated during pregnancy with individualized regimens that included second-line TB medications. We examined the frequency of favorable and adverse outcomes with regard to disease and pregnancy.

Results: After completion of MDR-TB treatment, 61% of the women were cured, 13% had died, 13% had defaulted, 5% remained in treatment, and 5% had experienced treatment failure. Four of the women experienced clinical deterioration of TB during pregnancy. Five of the pregnancies terminated in spontaneous abortions, and 1 child was stillborn. Among the living newborns, 3 were born with low birth weight, 1 was born prematurely, and 1 had fetal distress.

Conclusions: The rates of success in treating MDR-TB in our cohort are comparable to those of other MDR-TB treatment programs in Peru. The birth outcomes of our cohort are similar to those among the general Peru population. Therefore, we advocate that a woman should be given the option to continue treatment of MDR-TB rather than terminating pregnancy or discontinuing MDR-TB treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Middle Aged
  • Peru
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / drug therapy*
  • Young Adult


  • Antitubercular Agents