Pregnancy: Hypertension and Risk for Kidney Disease

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Q If a pregnant woman has mild hypertension (eg, 140/90 mm Hg) but no albuminuria, is she at higher risk for kidney disease as she ages?

Gestational hypertension and preeclampsia are two types of hypertension that occur during pregnancy. Both occur after 20 weeks’ gestation and include a blood pressure reading greater than 140/90 mm Hg and no maternal history of hypertension. Proteinuria does not occur in gestational hypertension as it does in preeclampsia (proteinuria ≥ 300 mg in a 24-h urine collection).

One study evaluated more than 26,000 Taiwanese women with hypertension during pregnancy and compared them to more than 200,000 women without hypertension during pregnancy. It was found that hypertension during pregnancy increased the risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) later in life. Preeclampsia and ­eclampsia were even more likely to increase the risk for ESRD, ­compared with gestational hypertension.1

Preeclampsia occurs after 20 weeks’ gestation and includes elevated blood pressure (≥ 140 mm Hg systolic or ≥ 90 mm Hg diastolic) and proteinuria (≥ 0.3 g in 24 h). Severe preeclampsia develops with the addition of worsening hypertension and proteinuria, oliguria less than 500 mL in 24 h, thrombocytopenia, hemolysis, el­e­vated liver enzymes, low platelets, pulmonary edema, and fetal growth restriction. Eclampsia is when seizures occur in addition to preeclampsia.2 Gestational hypertension has also been linked with a higher risk for ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarcts and death, heart failure, ischem-
ic stroke, kidney disease, and diabetes.3

Because of the association between hypertension during pregnancy and subsequent development of CKD, it is very important that mothers who have hypertension during pregnancy continue to have their renal function monitored after delivery.

Mandy Trolinger, MS, RD, PA-C

Denver Nephrology
Denver, CO

Personal Note: Mandy is a two-time kidney transplant recipient. She delivered a healthy baby boy in 2012.


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4. Nevis IF, Reitsma A, Dominic A, et al. Pregnancy outcomes in women with chronic kidney disease: a systematic review. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2011;6:2587-2598.

5. Hou S. Pregnancy in chronic renal insufficiency and end-stage renal disease. Am J Kidney Dis. 1999;33:235-252.

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9. McKay DB, Josephson MA. Pregnancy in recipients of solid organs—effects on mother and child. N Engl J Med. 2006;354:1281-1293.

10. Sifontis NM, Coscia LA, Constantinescu S, et al. Pregnancy outcomes in solid organ transplant recipients with exposure to mycophenolate mofetil or sirolimus. Transplantation. 2006;82:1698-1702.

11. Kainz A, Harabacz I, Cowlrick IS, et al. Review of the course and outcome of 100 pregnancies in 84 women treated with tacrolimus. Transplantation. 2000;70:1718-1721.

12. Josephson MA. Pregnancy in renal transplant recipients: more questions answered, still more asked. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2013;8: 182-183.

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