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Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2001 Oct;80(10):888-93.

Renal biopsy in pregnancies complicated by undetermined renal disease.

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Department of Nephrology, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.



The aim of this retrospective study was to verify the role of renal biopsy in pregnancies complicated by renal dysfunction.


A series of 15 percutaneous renal biopsies performed in 15 pregnant women with renal disease presenting during pregnancy over the past 10 years (1990-1999) were reviewed.


All the patients underwent renal biopsy before 30 weeks of gestation. The indications for renal biopsy were renal dysfunction of unknown cause or symptomatic nephrotic syndrome (NS). Patients with toxemia were excluded. Eight women had lupus nephritis, including five with diffuse crescenteric changes and three with a mesangial proliferative pattern. Three had chronic glomerulonephritis (CGN), two had mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis and one each had diabetic nephrosclerosis and endocapillary proliferative glomerulonephritis. There were no significant complications except in one patient who experienced gross hematuria. Early induction of labor was recommended for the four patients with diabetic nephrosclerosis or CGM. The other 11 patients received intravenous pulse methylprednisolone or high dose oral prednisolone therapy. The responses to steroid therapy in these 11 patients were as follows: five achieved complete remission of NS, three achieved incomplete remission, and three achieved partial remission. After 2 years' follow-up, seven mothers achieved complete remission, three had died, three developed chronic renal failure (CRF), and two progressed to end stage renal failure (ESRF) requiring chronic hemodialysis. Fourteen of the 15 pregnancies resulted in live births and the other child was stillborn.


Renal biopsy performed during pregnancy is not contraindicated. The results of histopathological studies are extremely useful in counseling regarding continuation or termination of pregnancy, potential maternal and fetal outcome, and recommending specific therapeutic modalities.

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