Maternal and foetal outcomes of patients with systematic lupus erythematosus admitted to the Maternity Ward at Groote Schuur Hospital: A retrospective study

Master Thesis


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

University of Cape Town

Background: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multisystem autoimmune disease commonly affecting females of child-bearing age, hence hormonal changes in pregnancy are thought to play a role in disease activity - often necessitating changes in immunosuppression therapy. SLE is common in Cape Town, however, the effect of pregnancy on SLE and vice versa has not been well characterised. The aim of this study is to report on the pregnancy outcomes of patients with SLE presenting to the maternity department of Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town. Methods: This study was designed as a retrospective review of records of pregnant women known with SLE and followed up at the maternity section of Groote Schuur Hospital. The duration of the survey was from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2013. Records were identified using the attendance registers in the relevant departments. Results: There were 61 pregnancies reviewed in 49 patients; 80.3% of the pregnancies were in patients of mixed ancestry and the rest (19.7%) in black African patients. The mean age at presentation of the current pregnancy was 27215.0 years. Mean gestational age at presentation and delivery was 13.0 ± 6.0 weeks and 28.9 ± 9.8 weeks respectively and 47.5% of the pregnancies were in patients with lupus nephritis (LN). Thirty-nine (63.9%) pregnancies reached the third trimester and 11.5% of all pregnancies ended in the first trimester. There was a lower number of live births to mothers of African ancestry than to those of mixed ancestry (p=0.001). In 55.7% of the pregnancies, no flare was reported while a renal flare was reported in 23%. Pregnancies in patients with LN had higher frequencies of flares (58.6% vs 31.3%; p=D.O32), pre-eclampsia (34.5% vs 12.5%; p=D.O41), longer stay in hospital (12.0 ± 9.1 days vs 6.1 ± 5.1 days; p=0.DO-4) and low birth weight babies (1.94 ± 1.02 kg vs 2.55 ± 0.95 kg; p=D.O46) than in patients without LN. Only 36 (59%) of the neonates were discharged home alive and of these 2 (5.6%) were to mothers of black African ancestry (p=0.001). Conclusion: Increased lupus activity in pregnant SLE patients may account for the increased deaths of neonates born to SLE mothers. Patients of black African descent and those with LN tend to have a poorer outcome. A multi-disciplinary approach to the management of SLE patients (of child-bearing age or pregnant) needs to be further evaluated.

Includes bibliographical references