Perioperative Management of Pregnant Women With Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension: An Observational Case Series Study From China

J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2018 Dec;32(6):2547-2559. doi: 10.1053/j.jvca.2018.01.043. Epub 2018 Mar 7.


Objectives: The mortality of pregnant women with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is very high. There are limited data on the management of idiopathic PAH during pregnancy. The authors aimed to examine systematically the characteristics of parturient women with idiopathic PAH, to explore the adverse effects of idiopathic PAH on pregnancy outcomes, and to report the multidisciplinary perioperative management strategy from the largest comprehensive cardiac hospital in China.

Design: Observational case series study.

Setting: Tertiary referral acute care hospital in Beijing, China.

Participants: The cases of 17 consecutive pregnant idiopathic PAH patients undergoing abortion or parturition at Anzhen Hospital were reviewed retrospectively.

Interventions: Preoperative characteristics, anesthesia method, intensive care management, PAH-specific therapy, and maternal and neonatal outcomes were analyzed in this case series study.

Measures and main results: Maternal and neonatal outcomes were the main measures. The mean ages of the 17 parturient women with idiopathic PAH were 28.3 ± 5.4 years, and the mean systolic pulmonary arterial pressure was 97.9 ± 18.6 mmHg. Fifteen patients (88.2%) received PAH-specific therapy before delivery, including sildenafil, iloprost, and treprostinil. All except 1 parturient received epidural anesthesia for surgery due to an emergency Caesarean section. Three patients experienced pulmonary hypertension crisis that necessitated conversion to general anesthesia. Ten parturients underwent Caesarean delivery at a median gestational age of 31 weeks. Three patients developed acute pulmonary hypertensive crisis intraoperatively. Two patients underwent cardiopulmonary resuscitation and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support. The maternal mortality was 17.6% (3/17). Of the 10 delivered neonates, 9 (90.0%) survived.

Conclusions: The maternal mortality of the idiopathic PAH parturient was high in this case series from China. The authors applied epidural anesthesia, early management with multidisciplinary approaches, PAH-specific therapy, avoidance of oxytocin, and timely delivery or pregnancy termination to improve maternal and neonatal outcomes.

Keywords: idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension; outcome; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Therapeutic / methods
  • Adult
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cesarean Section / methods
  • China / epidemiology
  • Disease Management*
  • Familial Primary Pulmonary Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Familial Primary Pulmonary Hypertension / mortality
  • Familial Primary Pulmonary Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Mortality / trends
  • Perioperative Care / methods*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular*
  • Pulmonary Wedge Pressure / drug effects
  • Pulmonary Wedge Pressure / physiology*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Antihypertensive Agents