Emergent prelabor cesarean delivery in solid organ transplant recipients: associated risk factors and outcomes

Am J Obstet Gynecol MFM. 2022 Nov 8;5(2):100799. doi: 10.1016/j.ajogmf.2022.100799. Online ahead of print.


Background: Pregnancies after solid organ transplant are at a higher risk of antepartum admission and pregnancy complications including cesarean delivery. Emergent prelabor cesarean delivery is associated with increased maternal and neonatal morbidity in other high-risk populations, but its incidence and impact in transplant recipients is not well-understood.

Objective: This study aimed to characterize the risk factors and outcomes of emergency prelabor cesarean delivery in kidney and liver transplant recipients.

Study design: This was a retrospective cohort study of all kidney and liver transplant recipients at >20 weeks gestation enrolled in the Transplant Pregnancy Registry International between 1976 and 2019. Participants admitted antepartum who required emergency prelabor cesarean delivery were compared with those admitted antepartum who underwent nonemergent birth. The primary outcomes were severe maternal morbidity and neonatal composite morbidity. Multivariable logistic regression was conducted for neonatal composite morbidity.

Results: Of 1979 births, 181 pregnancies (188 neonates) with antepartum admission were included. 51 pregnancies (53 neonates, 28%) were delivered by emergent prelabor cesarean delivery compared with 130 pregnancies (135 neonates, 72%) admitted antepartum who subsequently did not require emergent delivery. The most common indication for emergent delivery was nonreassuring fetal heart tracing (44 pregnancies /51 emergent deliveries = 86%). Pregnant people who underwent emergent prelabor cesarean delivery were less likely to deliver at a transplant center (37.3% vs 41.5%; P=.04) and had increased rates of chronic hypertension (33.3% vs 16.2%; P=.02). There was no significant difference in severe maternal morbidity (3.9% vs 4.6%; P=.84), though there was an increase in surgical site infection in the emergent prelabor cesarean delivery cohort (3.9% vs 0%; P=.02). Among those with emergent prelabor cesarean delivery, there was a significant increase in neonatal composite morbidity (43.4% vs 19.3%; P<.001) with earlier gestational age at delivery (33.4 vs 34.7 weeks; P=.02), lower birthweight (1899 g vs 2321 g; P<.001), lower birthweight percentile (30.3% vs 40.6%; P=.03), increased neonatal intensive care unit admission (52.8% vs 35.6%; P=.03), and increased neonatal mortality (11.3% vs 1.5%; P=.002). After adjusting for year of conception, race, hypertensive disorders, and fetal malformations, there was a persistent increased risk of neonatal morbidity (adjusted odds ratio, 3.01; 95% confidence interval, 1.50-6.08; P=.002) associated with emergent prelabor cesarean delivery after transplant.

Conclusion: Almost one-third of kidney and liver transplant recipients admitted antepartum had an emergency prelabor cesarean delivery, and 63% of this cohort delivered outside of a transplant center. Pregnancies after transplantation should involve multidisciplinary transplant-obstetrics collaboration to ensure optimal antepartum disease management, especially for preexisting hypertension, to prevent and mitigate obstetrical and neonatal morbidity in the setting of emergent cesarean delivery.

Keywords: Antepartum Admission; Chronic Hypertension; Emergent Cesarean; Kidney Transplant; Liver Transplant; Maternal Morbidity; Neonatal Morbidity And Mortality; Transplant Center.