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Pregnancy is not associated with an increased risk of decompensation, transplant, or death in compensated cirrhosis

Mullin M, Djerboua M, Sarkar M, Lu J, Velez MP, Brogly S, Terrault NA, Flemming JA. Int J Hepatol. 2022; 2022:9985226. Epub 2022 Jul 6. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1155/2022/9985226


Background and Aims — Childbirth in women with cirrhosis is increasing and associated with a higher risk of perinatal outcomes compared to the general population. Whether pregnancy influences the risk of liver-related events compared to nonpregnant women with cirrhosis is unclear. This study evaluates the association between pregnancy and liver-related outcomes in women with compensated cirrhosis. 

Approach and Results — Population-based retrospective matched cohort study in Ontario, Canada, using routinely collected healthcare data. Pregnant women with compensated cirrhosis and without prior history of decompensation between 2000 and 2016 were identified and matched to nonpregnant women with compensated cirrhosis on age, etiology of cirrhosis, and socioeconomic status in a 1 : 2 ratio. The association between pregnancy and the composite outcome of nonmalignant decompensation, liver transplant (LT), and death up to two years after cohort entry was estimated using the multivariate Cox proportional hazard regression adjusting for potential confounders. Overall, 5,403 women with compensated cirrhosis were included (1,801 pregnant; 3,602 nonpregnant; median age 31 years (IQR 27-34); 60% nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, 34% viral hepatitis). After two years of follow-up, only 19 (1.1%) pregnant women had a liver-related event compared to 319 (8.9%) nonpregnant women. Pregnant women with compensated cirrhosis had a lower hazard of a liver-related event compared to nonpregnant women (aHR 0.14, 95% CI 0.09-0.22, P < .001 ).

Conclusions — Pregnancy in women with compensated cirrhosis is not associated with increased liver-related events compared to nonpregnant women. These results can facilitate counselling women with cirrhosis of child-bearing age and suggests that pregnancy may not accelerate liver disease progression.

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