Practice Patterns Surrounding Pregnancy After Heart Transplantation

Ersilia M. Defilippis, Jennifer Haythe, Maryjane A. Farr, Jon Kobashigawa, Michelle M. Kittleson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Pregnancy after heart transplantation (HT) is a concern for many female recipients. The International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation has guidelines regarding reproductive health, but limited data exist regarding providers' attitudes and practices surrounding pregnancy post-HT. Methods: We conducted an independent, confidential, voluntary, web-based survey sent electronically to 1643 United States heart transplant providers between June and August 2019. Results: There were 122 responses, the majority from cardiologists (n=85, 70%) and nurse or transplant coordinators (n=22, 18%). Thirty-one percent (n=37) of respondents indicated that pregnancy should be avoided in all HT recipients, and only 43% (n=52) reported that their center had a formal policy regarding pregnancy following HT. The most commonly reported contraindications included nonadherence (n=109, 89%), reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (n=104, 85%), coronary allograft vasculopathy (n=86, 70%), prior rejection (n=76, 62%), presence of donor-specific antibodies (n=69, 57%), and prior peripartum cardiomyopathy pretransplant (n=57, 47%). Respondent sex, specialty, transplant volume, or prior experience with pregnancy after HT were not associated with recommendations to avoid posttransplant pregnancy. Conclusions: Transplant providers' attitudes regarding posttransplant pregnancy vary widely. Despite International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation guidelines, a significant proportion indicates that pregnancy is contraindicated in all recipients and the majority of programs have no center-specific policy to manage such pregnancies. While the low response rate limits the generalizability of the findings, they do suggest that education on the feasibility of pregnancy post-HT is indicated as many recipients are of, or survive to, childbearing age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E006811
JournalCirculation: Heart Failure
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • attitude
  • female
  • heart transplantation
  • immunosuppression
  • pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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