Pregnancy and vasculitis: a systematic review of the literature

Autoimmun Rev. 2012 May;11(6-7):A447-59. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2011.11.019. Epub 2011 Dec 3.


Primary systemic vasculitis are uncommon diseases that may affect young women in their childbearing age. To date, patients affected with primary systemic vasculitis are often diagnosed and treated earlier than in the past, due to improvement in diagnostic skills and a larger availability of effective drugs. The progressive achievement of a longer life expectancy and a better quality of life have progressively led to an increased number of pregnancies observed during the course of such diseases. Here, we review 567 pregnancies among patients with primary systemic vasculitis, in order to define the relationship between pregnancy and these conditions and to suggest guidelines for their management. However, data on pregnancy outcomes are limited and knowledge about their gestational risk is mostly provided by single case reports or at best by retrospective studies which may result in intrinsic observational bias; unfortunately, long term prospective studies are still lacking. Analysis of the data highlighted a reciprocal influence between disease course and gestational outcome, although no definite effects can be outlined. Indeed, either improvement or worsening of the different vasculitis can occur, probably due to diverse genetic, clinical and immunological background of the patients. Since disease course may vary over time, careful management of systemic vasculitis during gestation is required. Furthermore, organ failure or damage must be carefully considered, since it can lead to adverse obstetrical and fetal outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / immunology*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Vasculitis* / diagnosis
  • Vasculitis* / immunology
  • Vasculitis* / therapy