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1.  52-kDa Ro/SSA epitopes preferentially recognized by antibodies from mothers of children with neonatal lupus and congenital heart block 
Neonatal lupus erythematosus is a rare disorder caused by the transplacental passage of maternal autoantibodies. The 52-kDa Ro/SSA antigen (Ro52) ribonucleoprotein represents an antigenic target strongly associated with the autoimmune response in mothers whose children have neonatal lupus and cardiac conduction disturbances, mainly congenital heart block. The objective of this study was to identify putative Ro52/60-kDa Ro/SSA antigen (Ro60) epitopes associated with neonatal lupus and congenital heart block. The reactivity of IgG antibodies present in the sera from mothers with systemic lupus erythematosus and Sjögren's syndrome and in the sera from asymptomatic mothers (a longitudinal study of 192 samples from 66 subjects) was investigated by ELISA using Ro52, Ro60 and 48-kDa La/SSB antigen proteins, as well as 45 synthetic peptides, 13–24 residues long, of Ro52/Ro60 proteins. One to 19 samples collected before, during and after pregnancy were available for each mother. Forty-three disease controls selected randomly and normal sera were tested in parallel. Although no differences were found between Sjögren's syndrome and asymptomatic mothers of group I, who had at least one infant with neonatal lupus, and of group II, who had healthy babies only, significant differences were observed between lupus mothers from both groups. In the former group of lupus mothers, a significantly higher frequency of antibodies to Ro52 peptides 107–122 and 277–292 was observed. Between 18 and 30 weeks of gestation, the period of risk, there was clearly an elevated level of antibodies reacting with Ro52 peptides 1–13, 277–292 and 365–382. Antibodies to Ro52 peptide 365–382 have been shown previously to cross-react with residues 165–185 of the heart 5-HT4 serotoninergic receptor, and might be pathologically important. The level of these Ro52 antibody subsets decreased at the end of pregnancy and after delivery. IgG antibodies to Ro52 peptides 1–13, 107–122, 277–292 and 365–382 may therefore represent important biomarkers to predict a complication in pregnant lupus women with Ro52 antibodies.
doi:10.1186/ar1848
PMCID: PMC1526571  PMID: 16356190
2.  Association between Prenatal Exposure to Antiretroviral Therapy and Birth Defects: An Analysis of the French Perinatal Cohort Study (ANRS CO1/CO11) 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(4):e1001635.
Jeanne Sibiude and colleagues use the French Perinatal Cohort to estimate the prevalence of birth defects in children born to HIV-infected women receiving antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has major benefits during pregnancy, both for maternal health and to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Safety issues, including teratogenic risk, need to be evaluated. We estimated the prevalence of birth defects in children born to HIV-infected women receiving ART during pregnancy, and assessed the independent association of birth defects with each antiretroviral (ARV) drug used.
Methods and Findings
The French Perinatal Cohort prospectively enrolls HIV-infected women delivering in 90 centers throughout France. Children are followed by pediatricians until 2 y of age according to national guidelines.
We included 13,124 live births between 1994 and 2010, among which, 42% (n = 5,388) were exposed to ART in the first trimester of pregnancy. Birth defects were studied using both European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies (EUROCAT) and Metropolitan Atlanta Congenital Defects Program (MACDP) classifications; associations with ART were evaluated using univariate and multivariate logistic regressions. Correction for multiple comparisons was not performed because the analyses were based on hypotheses emanating from previous findings in the literature and the robustness of the findings of the current study. The prevalence of birth defects was 4.4% (95% CI 4.0%–4.7%), according to the EUROCAT classification. In multivariate analysis adjusting for other ARV drugs, maternal age, geographical origin, intravenous drug use, and type of maternity center, a significant association was found between exposure to zidovudine in the first trimester and congenital heart defects: 2.3% (74/3,267), adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 2.2 (95% CI 1.3–3.7), p = 0.003, absolute risk difference attributed to zidovudine +1.2% (95% CI +0.5; +1.9%). Didanosine and indinavir were associated with head and neck defects, respectively: 0.5%, AOR = 3.4 (95% CI 1.1–10.4), p = 0.04; 0.9%, AOR = 3.8 (95% CI 1.1–13.8), p = 0.04. We found a significant association between efavirenz and neurological defects (n = 4) using the MACDP classification: AOR = 3.0 (95% CI 1.1–8.5), p = 0.04, absolute risk +0.7% (95% CI +0.07%; +1.3%). But the association was not significant using the less inclusive EUROCAT classification: AOR = 2.1 (95% CI 0.7–5.9), p = 0.16. No association was found between birth defects and lopinavir or ritonavir with a power >85% for an odds ratio of 1.5, nor for nevirapine, tenofovir, stavudine, or abacavir with a power >70%. Limitations of the present study were the absence of data on termination of pregnancy, stillbirths, tobacco and alcohol intake, and concomitant medication.
Conclusions
We found a specific association between in utero exposure to zidovudine and heart defects; the mechanisms need to be elucidated. The association between efavirenz and neurological defects must be interpreted with caution. For the other drugs not associated with birth defects, the results were reassuring. Finally, whatever the impact that some ARV drugs may have on birth defects, it is surpassed by the major role of ART in the successful prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
AIDS and HIV infection are commonly treated with antiretroviral therapy (ART), a combination of individual drugs that work together to prevent the replication of the virus and further spread of the infection. Starting in the 1990s, studies have shown that ART of HIV-infected women can substantially reduce transmission of the virus to the child during pregnancy and birth. Based on these results, ART was subsequently recommended for pregnant women. Since 2004, ART has been standard therapy for pregnant women with HIV/AIDS in high-income countries, and it is now recommended for all HIV-infected women worldwide. Several different antiviral drug combinations have been shown to be effective and are used to prevent mother-to-infant transmission. However, as with any other drugs taken during pregnancy, there is concern that ART can harm the developing fetus.
Why Was This Study Done?
Several previous studies have assessed the risk that ART taken by a pregnant woman might pose to her developing fetus, but the results have been inconsistent. Animal studies suggested an elevated risk for some drugs but not others. While some clinical studies have reported increases in birth defects in children born to mothers on ART, others have shown no such increase.
The discrepancy may be due to differences between the populations included in the studies and the different methods used to diagnose birth defects. Additional large studies are therefore necessary to obtain more and better evidence on the potential harm of individual anti-HIV drugs to children exposed during pregnancy. So in this study, the authors conducted a large cohort study in France to assess the relationship between different antiretroviral drugs and specific birth defects.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used a large national health database known as the French Perinatal Cohort that contains information on HIV-infected mothers who delivered infants in 90 centers throughout France. Pediatricians follow all children, whatever their HIV status, to two years of age, and health statistics are collected according to national health-care guidelines. Analyzing the records, the researchers estimated the rate at which birth defects occurred in children exposed to antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy.
The researchers included 13,124 children who were born alive between 1994 and 2010 and had been exposed to ART during pregnancy. Children exposed in the first trimester of pregnancy, and those exposed during the second or third trimester, were compared to a control group (children not exposed to the drug during the whole pregnancy). Using two birth defect classification systems (EUROCAT and MACDP—MACDP collects more details on disease classification than EUROCAT), the researchers sought to detect a link between the occurrence of birth defects and exposure to individual antiretroviral drugs.
They found a small increase in the risk for heart defects in children with exposure to zidovudine. They also found an association between efavirenz exposure and a small increase in neurological defects, but only when using the MACDP classification system. The authors found no association between other antiretroviral drugs, including nevirapine (acting similar to efavirenz); tenofovir, stavudine, and abacavir (all three acting similar to zidovudine); and lopinavir and ritonavir (proteinase inhibitors) and any type of birth defect.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that, overall, the risks of birth defects in children exposed to antiretroviral drugs in utero are small when considering the clear benefit of preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. However, where there are safe and effective alternatives, it might be appropriate to avoid use by pregnant women of those drugs that are associated with elevated risks of birth defects.
Worldwide, a large number of children are exposed to zidovudine in utero, and these results suggest (though cannot prove) that these children may be at a slightly higher risk of heart defects. Current World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission no longer recommend zidovudine for first-line therapy.
The implications of the higher rate of neurological birth defects observed in infants exposed to efavirenz in the first trimester are less clear. The EUROCAT classification excludes minor neurological abnormalities without serious medical consequences, and so the WHO guidelines that stress the importance of careful clinical follow-up of children with exposure to efavirenz seem adequate, based on the findings of this study. The study is limited by the lack of data on the use of additional medication and alcohol and tobacco use, which could have a direct impact on fetal development, and by the absence of data on birth defects and antiretroviral drug exposure from low-income countries. However, the findings of this study overall are reassuring and suggest that apart from zidovudine and possibly efavirenz, other antiretroviral drugs are not associated with birth defects, and their use during pregnancy does not pose a risk to the infant.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001635.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Mofenson and Watts
The World Health Organization has a webpage on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
The US National Institutes of Health provides links to additional information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation also has a webpage on mother-to-child transmission
The French Perinatal Cohort has a webpage describing the cohort and its main publications (in French, with a summary in English)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001635
PMCID: PMC4004551  PMID: 24781315
3.  Prevalence of Congenital Anomalies in Infants with in Utero Exposure to Antiretrovirals 
Background
While use of efficacious interventions, including antiretrovirals (ARVs), has reduced dramatically the rate of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV, the safety of in utero ARV exposure remains of concern.
Methods
Data regarding 1112 infants enrolled in the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group (IMPAACT) protocol P1025 born between 2002 and 2007 were analyzed for this study. Congenital anomalies were classified based on the Metropolitan Atlanta Congenital Defects Program (MACDP) guidelines. Associations between congenital anomalies and timing of first in utero exposure to ARVs were evaluated by logistic regression analysis.
Results
61 of the 1112 infants had congenital anomalies identified and confirmed, resulting in a prevalence of 5.49/100 live births (95%CI: 4.22–6.99). Among the 80 anomalies identified, the organ systems involved included: cardiovascular (n=33), musculoskeletal (n=15), renal (n=9), genitourinary (n=6), craniofacial (n=4), and central nervous system (n=2). First trimester exposure to efavirenz was associated with a significantly increased risk of congenital anomalies (OR 2.84, 95%CI: 1.13–7.16). No significant associations were observed between exposure to other individual ARVs or classes of ARVs started at any time during pregnancy and infant congenital anomalies.
Conclusions
The observed rate of congenital anomalies in this cohort is higher than previously reported for the general population, but is consistent with rates observed in other recent studies of children born to HIV-infected women. Cardiovascular anomalies occurred most frequently. With the exception of a known teratogen (efavirenz), no statistically significant associations between in utero exposure to ARVs and congenital anomalies were identified.
doi:10.1097/INF.0b013e318235c7aa
PMCID: PMC3261302  PMID: 21983213
congenital anomalies; in utero exposure; HIV; antiretroviral
4.  Perinatal mortality and congenital anomalies in babies of women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland: population based study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2006;333(7560):177.
Objective To provide perinatal mortality and congenital anomaly rates for babies born to women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Design National population based pregnancy cohort.
Setting 231 maternity units in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Participants 2359 pregnancies to women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who delivered between 1 March 2002 and 28 February 2003.
Main outcome measures Stillbirth rates; perinatal and neonatal mortality; prevalence of congenital anomalies.
Results Of 2359 women with diabetes, 652 had type 2 diabetes and 1707 had type 1 diabetes. Women with type 2 diabetes were more likely to come from a Black, Asian, or other ethnic minority group (type 2, 48.8%; type 1, 9.1%) and from a deprived area (type 2, 46.3% in most deprived fifth; type 1, 22.8%). Perinatal mortality in babies of women with diabetes was 31.8/1000 births. Perinatal mortality was comparable in babies of women with type 1 (31.7/1000 births) and type 2 diabetes (32.3/1000) and was nearly four times higher than that in the general maternity population. 141 major congenital anomalies were confirmed in 109 offspring. The prevalence of major congenital anomaly was 46/1000 births in women with diabetes (48/1000 births for type 1 diabetes; 43/1000 for type 2 diabetes), more than double that expected. This increase was driven by anomalies of the nervous system, notably neural tube defects (4.2-fold), and congenital heart disease (3.4-fold). Anomalies in 71/109 (65%) offspring were diagnosed antenatally. Congenital heart disease was diagnosed antenatally in 23/42 (54.8%) offspring; anomalies other than congenital heart disease were diagnosed antenatally in 48/67 (71.6%) offspring.
Conclusion Perinatal mortality and prevalence of congenital anomalies are high in the babies of women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The rates do not seem to differ between the two types of diabetes.
doi:10.1136/bmj.38856.692986.AE
PMCID: PMC1513435  PMID: 16782722
5.  Systemic lupus erythematosus 
BMJ Clinical Evidence  2009;2009:1123.
Introduction
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) occurs predominantly in young women, but also in children. The prevalence of SLE varies widely worldwide, ranging from about 1 in 3500 women (regardless of race) in the UK, to 1 in 1000 women in China, to 1 in 250 African-American women in the USA.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of treatments on joint symptoms (arthralgia/arthritis) and other non-organ-threatening symptoms (such as serositis and fatigue) in people with systemic lupus erythematosus? What are the effects of interventions for cutaneous involvement in people with systemic lupus erythematosus? What are the effects of treatments in people with proliferative lupus nephritis (WHO grades 3–5)? What are the effects of treatments for neuropsychiatric involvement in people with systemic lupus nephritis? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to December 2007 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 11 systematic reviews or RCTs that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: acitretin; antipsychotic drugs; chloroquine; combination corticosteroids plus immunosuppressants; corticosteroids; hydroxychloroquine; intravenous immunoglobulin; methotrexate; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); plasmapheresis; and sunblock.
Key Points
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic, multi-system, inflammatory connective tissue disorder of unknown cause that can involve joints, kidneys, serous surfaces, skin, and vessel walls. It occurs predominantly in young women, but also in children. The course of SLE is highly variable, involving non-organ-threatening symptoms (such as arthritis, arthralgia, and rashes), organ-threatening symptoms (such as lupus nephritis), and neuropsychiatric disorders (such as seizures and cognitive dysfunction).
The prevalence of SLE varies widely worldwide, ranging from about 1 in 3500 women (regardless of race) in the UK, to 1 in 1000 women in China, to 1 in 250 African-American women in the USA.
There is consensus that NSAIDs and corticosteroids are useful in relieving pain caused by arthralgia/arthritis, and pleuritis and pericarditis associated with SLE. We found no evidence that the well-documented adverse effects of NSAIDs differ in people with SLE. There is also consensus that corticosteroids and sunscreens are effective in reducing cutaneous manifestations of SLE.
Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine are likely to be effective in reducing arthritis, pleuritis, and pericarditis. They may also improve cutaneous symptoms. Methotrexate may also be effective for both joint and cutaneous symptoms, but is associated with adverse effects.
Combining immunosuppressants plus corticosteroids may be more effective than corticosteroids alone in people with lupus nephritis, but with an increase in adverse effects. We don't know how corticosteroids alone compare with immunosuppressants alone in people with proliferative lupus nephritis.
We don't know whether corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, plasmapheresis, or intravenous immunoglobulin are effective in people with neuropsychiatric symptoms of lupus. Most people with neuropsychiatric lupus and psychotic symptoms will be offered antipsychotic drugs to control symptoms unless there are contraindications, despite the lack of RCTs assessing their effectiveness.
PMCID: PMC2907829  PMID: 21696649
6.  Prevalence of Congenital Anomalies in Neonates and Associated Risk Factors in a Tertiary Care Hospital in Eastern India 
Journal of Clinical Neonatology  2013;2(3):131-134.
Background:
Congenital anomalies are a major cause of stillbirths and neonatal mortality. The pattern and prevalence of congenital anomalies may vary over time or with geographical location.
Aims and Objectives:
The aim of this study is to determine the proportion and types of congenital anomalies in live newborns and to study maternal and perinatal risk factors.
Materials and Methods:
This cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out in the neonatal care unit of R. G. Kar Medical College and Hospital during the period of September 2011 to August 2012. All the live born babies born in this hospital during this period were included. The newborns were examined for the presence of congenital anomalies and mothers were interviewed for socio-demographic variables.
Results:
During the study period, 12,896 babies were born, of which 286 had congenital malformations, making the prevalence 2.22%. Most of the women (55.7%) belonged to the age group between 21 and 30 years. Congenital anomalies were seen more commonly (3.3%) in the multiparas in comparison with primiparas (1.8%). The predominant system involved was Musculo-skeletal system (33.2%) followed by gastro-intestinal (GI) system (15%). Talipes (17.1%) was the most common one in musculoskeletal group and likewise cleft lip and cleft palate in GI system. Congenital anomalies were more likely to be associated with low birth weight, prematurity, multiparity, consanguinity and cesarean delivery.
Conclusion:
Public awareness about preventable risk factors is to be created and early prenatal diagnosis and management of common anomalies is strongly recommended.
doi:10.4103/2249-4847.119998
PMCID: PMC3830148  PMID: 24251257
Congenital anomaly; prematurity; prevalence; risk factors; types
7.  Minor physical anomalies are not increased in the offspring of mothers with systemic lupus erythematosus 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2005;65(2):246-248.
Objective
To determine the incidence and type of minor physical anomalies (MPAs) in infants born to mothers with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Methods
Each trimester, pregnant women with SLE were assessed for disease activity, prescribed drug use, and exposure to tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs through a self reported questionnaire. Infant examinations were performed on 30/39 (77%) live births in women with SLE and the incidence of MPAs determined.
Results
2/30 (7%) patients had three or more MPAs; 4 (13%) had two; 7 (23%) had one; and 17 (57%) had none. One in three women reported alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use. Facial anomalies were the most common MPAs. The relative risk and 95% confidence interval for any MPA were 2.05 (0.99 to 4.26) for tobacco use; 1.95 (0.92 to 4.11) for alcohol use; 1.36 (0.165 to 11.23) for maternal disease flare; 0.63 (0.27 to 1.47) for prednisone use; and 0.72 (0.21 to 2.44) for aspirin use.
Conclusion
13/30 (43%) infants had minor anomalies—a similar incidence to that of the general population. Counselling for preventable self reported exposure is advisable in addition to counselling specifically for lupus management during pregnancy.
doi:10.1136/ard.2005.038844
PMCID: PMC1798037  PMID: 15994279
systemic lupus erythematosus; pregnancy; minor physical anomalies
8.  Risk of herpes zoster in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: a three-year follow-up study using a nationwide population-based cohort 
Clinics  2011;66(7):1177-1182.
OBJECTIVE:
The goal of the present study was to estimate the risk ratio of herpes zoster among systemic lupus erythematosus patients after disease onset compared with a cohort of patients without systemic lupus erythematosus over a three-year period.
METHODS:
A nationwide population-based cohort study using the National Health Insurance Research Database identified 10,337 new cases of systemic lupus erythematosus as the study cohort. In addition, 62,022 patients without systemic lupus erythematosus, who were matched for age, gender, and date of systemic lupus erythematosus diagnosis, were used as the comparison cohort. These cohorts were followed-up for three years. A Cox proportional hazard regression was performed to estimate the risk ratio of herpes zoster, with adjustments for age, gender, level of insurance, urbanization level, geographic region, comorbid medical conditions, average daily dosage of corticosteroids, and the use of immune-modulation agents.
RESULTS:
Compared to patients without systemic lupus erythematosus, the crude risk ratio and adjusted risk ratio of herpes zoster among systemic lupus erythematosus patients were 7.37 (95% confidence interval 6.75-8.04) and 2.45 (95% confidence interval 1.77-3.40), respectively. Stratified by gender, the adjusted risk ratio of herpes zoster was 2.10 (95% confidence interval 1.45-2.99) in women and 7.51 (95% confidence interval 2.89-19.52) in men. Stratified by age, the adjusted risk ratio peaked in systemic lupus erythematosus patients who were aged 18 to 24 years (risk ratio 8.78, 95% confidence interval 3.08-24.97).
CONCLUSION:
Based on nationwide population-based data, there is an increased risk of herpes zoster in systemic lupus erythematosus patients compared with non-systemic lupus erythematosus patients, particularly among males and patients aged 18 to 24 years. Further research on the associated risk factors for herpes zoster in systemic lupus erythematosus patients is needed.
doi:10.1590/S1807-59322011000700009
PMCID: PMC3148460  PMID: 21876970
Herpes Zoster; Risk; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; Population-Based Cohort Study; Database
9.  Heart Disease in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Diagnosis and Management 
Texas Heart Institute Journal  1985;12(1):9-21.
Most patients suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus develop secondary heart disease at some time during the course of the primary illness. The most common forms of this type of heart disease are acute fibrinous pericarditis and hypertension. By means of echocardiography, an increased incidence of pericardial effusion has been demonstrated. Although commonly noted at autopsy, myocarditis is often clinically silent. However, endomyocardial biopsy may confirm its presence during life. Libman-Sacks endocarditis, although encountered in 40 to 50% of hearts at autopsy, is rarely diagnosed during life. When significant valve dysfunction such as aortic insufficiency or mitral regurgitation develops during the course of systemic lupus erythematosus, then Libman-Sacks endocarditis should be strongly suspected.
Cardiac arrhythmias, first degree AV block, and acquired complete heart block may develop either de novo or in association with lupus pericarditis, myocarditis, vasculitis, etc. Complete congenital heart block has been reported in newborns of mothers with systemic lupus erythematosus, particularly those who have an antibody to a soluble tissue ribonucleoprotein antigen called RO(SS-A).
Coronary arteritis and premature coronary atherosclerosis manifesting in either angina pectoris or myocardial infarction in young adults, particularly women suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus, have received attention recently. The development of hypertension and hyperlipidemia while such patients are receiving prolonged corticosteroid therapy has been incriminated as the significant risk factor in premature coronary atherosclerosis. Longstanding hypertension and congestive heart failure have unfavorable prognoses.
This report is based on a cumulative review of 50 patients with acute and chronic systemic lupus erythematosus seen at our institution and in private practice during the last 10 years.
Images
PMCID: PMC341784  PMID: 15227037
10.  Pregnancy Related Complications in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, An Egyptian Experience 
Background
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) has a tendency to occur in women in their reproductive years, causing complications during pregnancy and labour. Conversely, pregnancy can cause flares of disease activity, often necessitating immediate intervention.
Aim of study
to study pregnancy related complications in patients with SLE.
Patients and methods
The study included 48 SLE pregnant females. 27 patients with 38 pregnancies, their data viewed retrospectively from medical records, and 21 patients with 21 pregnancies followed up prospectively. The laboratory data included ANA, DNA, APL antibodies and anti Ro/SSA. The disease activity was calculated according to the Systemic Lupus Activity Measure. Ultrasound was performed to confirm gestational age and assess for the presence of any congenital fetal malformations, and then repeated monthly to detect any abnormality including intrauterine growth restriction. At 30 weeks gestation and onwards, assessment of fetal wellbeing including daily fetal kick chart and once weekly non stress test was performed. Doppler blood flow velocimetry was done for those with abnormal fetal heart rate pattern. After labour, the neonate was examined for complications including complete heart block and neonatal lupus.
Results
Anti dsDNA was found in 95% of the patients, anti Ro/SSA in 6% and anti APL in 30%. 57% of the patients followed up prospectively had active disease in the 1st trimester, 24% in the 2nd and 62% in the 3rd trimester. The most common maternal complication was preeclampsia 33%, followed by spontaneous abortion 20%. Prematurity was the most common fetal complication 37%, followed by intrauterine growth restriction 29%. 2 neonates were born with congenital heart block and 1 with neonatal lupus.
Conclusion
Pregnancy in SLE patients is associated with a higher risk of obstetric complications affecting both the mother and the fetus. Preeclampsia was the most common complication followed by prematurity. Preeclampsia was significantly associated with third trimester disease activity.
doi:10.4137/CMRH.S6862
PMCID: PMC3888067  PMID: 24453508
SLE; pregnancy complications
11.  Survival of children born with congenital anomalies 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2003;88(5):391-394.
Aim: To describe the survival to age 5 years of children born with congenital anomalies.
Methods: Between 1980 and 1997, 6153 live born cases of congenital anomaly were diagnosed and registered by the population based Glasgow Register of Congenital Anomalies. They were retrospectively followed to assess their survival status from birth up to the age of 5 years.
Results: The proportions of all live born infants with congenital anomalies surviving to the end of the first week, and first and fifth year were 94%, 89%, and 88%, respectively. Survival to age 5, the end point of follow up, was significantly poorer for infants with chromosomal anomalies (48%) compared to neural tube defects (72%), respiratory system anomalies (74%), congenital heart disease (75%), nervous system anomalies (77%), and Down's syndrome (84%).
Conclusion: Although almost 90% of all live born infants with congenital anomalies survive to 5 years, there are notable variations in survival between anomaly types. Our findings should be useful for both clinicians and geneticists to assess the prognosis of congenital anomalies. This information is also important for affected families and for the planning of health care needs for this high risk population.
doi:10.1136/adc.88.5.391
PMCID: PMC1719557  PMID: 12716706
12.  Serum interleukin-17 levels are associated with nephritis in childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus 
Clinics  2015;70(5):313-317.
OBJECTIVES:
To determine the serum interleukin-17 (IL-17) levels in childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus patients and to evaluate the association between IL-17 and clinical manifestations, disease activity, laboratory findings and treatment.
METHODS:
We included 67 consecutive childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus patients [61 women; median age 18 years (range 11-31)], 55 first-degree relatives [50 women; median age 40 years (range 29-52)] and 47 age- and sex-matched healthy controls [42 women; median age 19 years (range 6-30)]. The childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus patients were assessed for clinical and laboratory systemic lupus erythematosus manifestations, disease activity [Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI)], cumulative damage [Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Damage Index] and current drug use. Serum IL-17 levels were measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using commercial kits.
RESULTS:
The median serum IL-17 level was 36.3 (range 17.36-105.92) pg/mL in childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus patients and 29.47 (15.16-62.17) pg/mL in healthy controls (p=0.009). We observed an association between serum IL-17 levels and active nephritis (p=0.01) and migraines (p=0.03). Serum IL-17 levels were not associated with disease activity (p=0.32), cumulative damage (p=0.34), or medication use (p=0.63).
CONCLUSION:
IL-17 is increased in childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus and may play a role in the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric and renal manifestations. Longitudinal studies are necessary to determine the role of IL-17 in childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus.
doi:10.6061/clinics/2015(05)01
PMCID: PMC4449477  PMID: 26039945
Interleukin-17; Childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus
13.  Prepregnancy Maternal Weight and Body Mass Index of Children with and without Congenital Heart Disease 
Iranian Journal of Pediatrics  2014;24(3):313-318.
Objective: Congenital heart diseases are among the most frequent major congenital anomalies. One of the suspected reasons for congenital heart defects is overweight and obesity of mother during prepregnancy and pregnancy. We studied the relationship between maternal overweight and obesity and the risk of congenital anomaly.
Methods: All of children with congenital heart defect (164 infants with major nonsyndromic heart disease) referred to our pediatric cardiology clinic or admitted to our ward during 2011-2012 were included in this study. Controls were 158 live-born infants without any major malformations and their mothers. Mothers of these infants were studied for weight, height and body mass index (BMI).
Findings : The most frequent congenital heart disease was ventricular septal defect (39%), patent ductus arteriosus (11%), complete atrioventricular septal defect (10%), pulmonary stenosis (9.1%), and atrial septal defect (8.5%). There was no significant difference between maternal age (P=0.1), weight (P=0.8) and height (P=0.3) in the two groups. The mothers had not significantly higher BMI than that of the control mothers. Compared with underweight (BMI <18.5) and normal weight women (OR: 1.24, 95%CI: 0.40-3.89), overweight (OR: 0.98, 95%CI: 0.31-3.10) and obese women (OR: 1.16, 95%CI: 0.34-4.00) were not more likely to have an infant with a congenital heart defect.
Conclusion: This study suggests that there may not be a relation between maternal BMI and having a child with congenital heart defect.
PMCID: PMC4276587  PMID: 25562026
Congenital Heart Defects; Maternal Obesity; Maternal Overweight
14.  Pregnancy in systemic lupus erythematosus 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  2001;77(905):157-165.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that predominantly affects women of reproductive age. Pregnancy and its outcome is a major concern to most SLE patients. Queries regarding the risk of disease flares during pregnancy, chance of fetal loss, and the safety of various drugs are often raised. With the improvement in the understanding of the pathogenesis of SLE and the judicious use of immunosuppressive drugs, better disease control can now be achieved and SLE patients should not be deprived of the opportunity for bearing children. Prepregnancy counselling and close collaboration with other specialists such as the obstetricians and the perinatologists is essential in optimising the maternal and fetal outcome in lupus pregnancies. In this review, important issues regarding the fertility rate, optimal timing of conception, risk of disease flares during lupus pregnancy, pregnancy course, fetal outcome, safety of various drugs used for disease control during pregnancy and lactation, and contraceptive advice are discussed.


Keywords: systemic lupus erythematosus; pregnancy; flare; hormone
doi:10.1136/pmj.77.905.157
PMCID: PMC1741938  PMID: 11222822
15.  Risk of congenital anomalies in pregnant users of statin drugs 
Aims
Evidence from animal studies suggests that statin medications should not be taken during pregnancy. Our aim was to examine the association between the use of statins in early pregnancy and the incidence of congenital anomalies.
Methods
A population-based pregnancy registry was built. Three study groups were assembled: women prescribed statins in the first trimester (group A), fibrate/nicotinic acid in the first trimester (group B) and statins between 1 year and 1 month before conception, but not during pregnancy (group C). Among live-born infants, we selected as cases infants with any congenital anomaly diagnosed in the first year of life. Controls were defined as infants with no congenital anomalies. The rate of congenital anomalies in the respective groups was calculated. Adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were also calculated.
Results
Our study group consisted of 288 pregnant women. Among women with a live birth, the rate of congenital anomalies was 3/64 (4.69%; 95% CI 1.00, 13.69) in group A, 3/14 in group B (21.43%; 95% CI 4.41, 62.57) and 7/67 in group C (10.45%; 95% CI 4.19, 21.53). The adjusted OR for congenital anomalies in group A compared with group C was 0.36 (95% CI 0.06, 2.18).
Conclusion
We did not detect a pattern in fetal congenital anomalies or evidence of an increased risk in the live-born infants of women filling prescriptions for statins in the first trimester of pregnancy. Conclusions, however, remain uncertain in the absence of data from nonlive births.
What is already known about this subjectCholesterol is known to be essential for fetal development.Statins, which inhibit cholesterol production, have therefore been considered as potential teratogens and are contraindicated in pregnancy.Data available thus far on the risks of congenital anomalies associated with statin therapy have come from non-analytic postmarketing surveillance studies.Given the increasing use of statins in women of childbearing age, there is a need for a population-based study on the risks of congenital anomalies associated with gestational statin use.
What this study addsIn this pharmacoepidemiological study, we determined the risk of congenital anomalies in women who filled prescriptions for statins during the first trimester of pregnancy, compared with women who had stopped statins before pregnancy or those who used fibrates during pregnancy.We found no evidence of an increased risk of fetal anomalies among first-trimester statin users, or any discernable pattern of congenital anomalies among live births.However, in the absence of outcome data on nonlive births, conclusions remain uncertain.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2125.2007.02905.x
PMCID: PMC2048566  PMID: 17506782
antilipademic agents; congenital anomalies; pregnancy; pregnancy registry; statins
16.  Risk of congenital anomalies in pregnant users of statin drugs 
What is already known about this subjectCholesterol is known to be essential for fetal development.Statins, which inhibit cholesterol production, have therefore been considered as potential teratogens and are contraindicated in pregnancy.Data available thus far on the risks of congenital anomalies associated with statin therapy have come from non-analytic postmarketing surveillance studies.Given the increasing use of statins in women of childbearing age, there is a need for a population-based study on the risks of congenital anomalies associated with gestational statin use.What this study addsIn this pharmacoepidemiological study, we determined the risk of congenital anomalies in women who filled prescriptions for statins during the first trimester of pregnancy, compared with women who had stopped statins before pregnancy or those who used fibrates during pregnancy.We found no evidence of an increased risk of fetal anomalies among first-trimester statin users, or any discernable pattern of congenital anomalies among live births.However, in the absence of outcome data on nonlive births, conclusions remain uncertain.
Aims
Evidence from animal studies suggests that statin medications should not be taken during pregnancy. Our aim was to examine the association between the use of statins in early pregnancy and the incidence of congenital anomalies.
Methods
A population-based pregnancy registry was built. Three study groups were assembled: women prescribed statins in the first trimester (group A), fibrate/nicotinic acid in the first trimester (group B) and statins between 1 year and 1 month before conception, but not during pregnancy (group C). Among live-born infants, we selected as cases infants with any congenital anomaly diagnosed in the first year of life. Controls were defined as infants with no congenital anomalies. The rate of congenital anomalies in the respective groups was calculated. Adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were also calculated.
Results
Our study group consisted of 288 pregnant women. Among women with a live birth, the rate of congenital anomalies was 3/64 (4.69%; 95% CI 1.00, 13.69) in group A, 3/14 in group B (21.43%; 95% CI 4.41, 62.57) and 7/67 in group C (10.45%; 95% CI 4.19, 21.53). The adjusted OR for congenital anomalies in group A compared with group C was 0.36 (95% CI 0.06, 2.18).
Conclusion
We did not detect a pattern in fetal congenital anomalies or evidence of an increased risk in the live-born infants of women filling prescriptions for statins in the first trimester of pregnancy. Conclusions, however, remain uncertain in the absence of data from nonlive births.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2125.2007.02905.x
PMCID: PMC2048566  PMID: 17506782
antilipademic agents; congenital anomalies; pregnancy; pregnancy registry; statins
17.  Increased usage of special educational services by children born to mothers with systemic lupus erythematosus and antiphospholipid antibodies 
Lupus Science & Medicine  2014;1(1):e000034.
Introduction
Surveys of long-term health and developmental outcomes of children born to mothers with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have suggested an increase in learning disabilities among these children. We performed this observational study to investigate the relationship between maternal autoantibodies and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS) in maternal lupus patients and neurocognitive development among their offspring.
Methods
SLE mothers with at least one live birth postlupus diagnosis were enrolled. Data on maternal medical/obstetric history and children's perinatal/medical history were collected by structured interview and medical record reviews. The primary outcome was requirement for special educational (SE) services, a proxy for developmental delays. Multiple logistic regression modelling was used to examine associations between APS and autoantibodies with SE usage, accounting for SLE disease severity and potential confounders.
Results
Data on 38 mothers and 60 offspring were analysed: SE service usage was reported for 15 of 60 (25%) offspring. Maternal APS history was significantly associated with increased use of SE services among offspring, including after adjustment for lupus anticoagulant (LA) positivity and potential confounders (OR 5.5–9.4 for delays age ≥2; p<0.05). The presence of LA, but not other antiphospholipid antibodies, was also associated with increased SE services usage.
Conclusions
Maternal APS and LA were independently associated with increased usage of special educational services among offspring of women with SLE.
doi:10.1136/lupus-2014-000034
PMCID: PMC4213825  PMID: 25379194
Antiphospholipid Antibodies; Antiphospholipid Syndrome; Autoantibodies; Outcomes research; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
18.  A Description of Congenital Anomalies Among Infants in Entebbe, Uganda 
BACKGROUND: Data on congenital anomalies from developing countries of the sub-Saharan region are scarce. However, it is important to have comprehensive and reliable data on the description and prevalence of congenital anomalies to allow surveillance and the implementation of appropriate public health strategies for prevention and management. In this study, we describe the profile of congenital anomalies seen in a birth cohort in Entebbe, Uganda. METHODS: Congenital anomalies were defined as any structural defect present at birth. Pregnant women were recruited to the cohort between 2003 and 2005. Defects present at birth were recorded by the midwife at delivery and by physicians at the routine six-week postnatal visit and at illness-related visits until 1 year of life. The anomalies were classified by organ system according to the 10th version of the World Health Organization International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10). RESULTS: There were 180 infants with a congenital anomaly among 2365 births. The most commonly affected systems were the musculoskeletal (42.7 per 1000 births) and skin (16.1 per 1000 births). The prevalence of major anomalies was 20.3 per 1000 births; 1.7 per 1000 births for cardiac anomalies and 1.3 per 1000 births for neural system anomalies. Forty (22%) of the congenital anomalies were identified at birth, 131 (73%) at the 6-week postnatal visit, and nine (5%) at illness-related visits. CONCLUSION: Congenital anomalies are common in developing countries. Establishment of comprehensive databases for surveillance would be helpful for surveillance of effects of new exposures, for prevention, management, and health care planning. Birth Defects Research (Part A) 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
doi:10.1002/bdra.20838
PMCID: PMC3272344  PMID: 21770020
congenital anomalies; infants; epidemiology; Uganda; Africa
19.  Children conceived by in vitro fertilisation after fresh embryo transfer 
AIMS—To compare the outcome in in vitro fertilisation (IVF) children (after fresh embryo transfer) from multiple and singleton births with one another, and with normally conceived control children.
METHODS—A cohort of 278 children (150 singletons, 100 twins, 24 triplets and four quadruplets), conceived by IVF after three fresh embryos had been transferred, born between October 1984 and December 1991, and 278 normally conceived control children (all singletons), were followed up for four years after birth. They were assessed for neonatal conditions, minor congenital anomalies, major congenital malformations, cerebral palsy and other disabilities. Control children, all born at term, were matched for age, sex and social class.
RESULTS—The ratio of male:female births was 1.03. Forty six per cent of IVF children were from multiple births; 34.9% were from preterm deliveries; and 43.2% weighed less than 2500 g at birth. The IVF singletons were on average born one week earlier than the controls, weighed 400 g less, and had a threefold greater chance of being born by caesarean section. The higher percentage of preterm deliveries was largely due to multiple births and they contributed to neonatal conditions in 45.0% of all IVF children. The types of congenital abnormalities varied: 3.6% of IVF children and 2.5% of controls had minor congenital anomalies, and 2.5% of IVF children and none of the controls had major congenital malformations. The numbers of each specific type of congenital abnormality were small and were not significantly related to multiple births. IVF children (2.1%) and 0.4% of the controls had mild/moderate disabilities. They were all from multiple births, including two children with cerebral palsy who were triplets.
CONCLUSIONS—The outcome of IVF treatment leading to multiple births is less satisfactory than that in singletons because of neonatal conditions associated with preterm delivery and disabilities in later childhood. A reduction of multiple pregnancies by limiting the transfer of embryos to two instead of three remains a high priority.

 Keywords: IVF; multiple births; congenital abnormalities; disabilities.
PMCID: PMC1720629  PMID: 9135283
20.  Non-occupational exposure to paint fumes during pregnancy and risk of congenital anomalies: a cohort study 
Environmental Health  2012;11:54.
Background
Occupational exposure to organic solvents during the 1st trimester of pregnancy has been associated with congenital anomalies. Organic solvents are also used in the home environments in paint products, but no study has investigated the effect of such exposure in a general population.
Methods
We studied associations between residential exposure to paint fumes during the 1st trimester of pregnancy and predefined subgroups of congenital anomalies, using data from the Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC). During 2001 and 2003, a total of 20 103 pregnant women, enrolled in the DNBC, were interviewed in the 30th week of gestation about the use of paint in their residence during pregnancy. By the end of first trimester, information about smoking habits, alcohol consumption and occupation were collected. Information on congenital anomalies was obtained from national registers. Associations were examined by estimating odds ratios (OR) using logistic regression.
Results
In total 1404 women (7%) had been exposed to paint fumes during the 1st trimester of pregnancy and 1086 children were diagnosed with congenital anomalies; 73 children with congenital anomalies had been exposed to paint fumes in utero. Exposure to paint fumes seemed positively associated with congenital anomalies of the nervous system (OR 2.19, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.76 to 6.32), ear, face and neck (OR 2.15, 95% CI 0.84 to 5.55) and the renal system (OR 2.16, 95% CI 1.02 to 4.58) after adjustment for maternal age, smoking, alcohol consumption and occupational solvent exposure. Congenital anomalies in the remaining subgroups were not associated with the exposure.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that in the general population, exposure to paint fumes during the 1st trimester of pregnancy may increase the risk of some types of congenital anomalies, but the findings need to be confirmed.
doi:10.1186/1476-069X-11-54
PMCID: PMC3533823  PMID: 22892023
Epidemiology; Organic solvent; Paint fumes; Birth cohort; Congenital anomalies; Birth defects
21.  How Accurate Is Diagnosis of Congenital Anomalies Made by Family Physicians? 
Health Promotion Perspectives  2014;4(2):158-164.
Background: Although family physicians have a key role in clinical management of many diseases and in community health, the accuracy of the diagnosis for congenital anomalies by family physicians still needs more investigations. The aim of this study was to assess the accuracy of family physicians in case detection and diagnosis of congenital anomalies in rural areas, northwest of Iran.
Methods: In a community-based study of 22500 children born between 2004 and 2012, all 172 cases of congenital anomalies diagnosed by family physicians were assessed by a qualified pediatrician in 47 health houses in rural areas of Tabriz District, northwest Iran. A group of 531 children was compared as control subjects.
Results: The overall sensitivity and specificity of family physicians‟ diagnosis for congenital anomalies were estimated 98% (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 95.9 to 100) and 100% (95% CI: 99.3 to 100), respectively. Sensitivity for diagnosis of congenital heart diseases was 97% (95% CI: 93 to 100), and for genitourinary tract, it was 86% (95% CI: 59 to 100). Specificity was estimated 100% for both groups of heart and genitourinary tract anomalies.
Conclusion: The performance of family physicians was found accurate enough in the diagnosis of congenital anomalies. Health care system may consider family physician program as an effective approach to detect and clinical management of congenital anomalies.
doi:10.5681/hpp.2014.021
PMCID: PMC4300441  PMID: 25648162
Accuracy; Diagnosis; Family physician; Congenital anomalies
22.  Prevalence and pathogenesis of congenital anomalies in cerebral palsy 
Background
It has been hypothesised that cerebral palsy (CP) and other congenital anomalies are attributable to feto–fetal transfusion problems in a monochorionic multiple gestation. Thus more than one organ could be compromised leading to the coexistence of two or more anomalies in a fetus. Such anomalies in a singleton birth may be attributable to early demise of the co‐conceptus as a vanishing twin.
Aim
To determine whether the coexistence of congenital anomalies and CP is greater than a chance finding by comparing the prevalence of congenital anomalies in children with CP with that in the general population of children.
Methods
A population‐based register of children with CP born in 1966–1991 in the counties of Merseyside and Cheshire, UK, comprised the index population. Coexisting congenital anomalies were recorded. For comparison the population prevalence of congenital anomalies was obtained from eight congenital malformation registers in the UK.
Results
Children with CP were found to have highly significant increases in risk for microcephaly, isolated hydrocephaly, congenital anomalies of the eye, congenital cardiac anomalies, cleft lip and/or palate and congenital dislocation of the hips and talipes (p<0.001) and atresias of the oesophagus (p<0.001) and intestines (p<0.01). The relative risks ranged from 3.1 (95% CI 1.9 to 4.8; p<0.001) for congenital malformations of the cardiac septa to 116.09 (95% CI 84.0 to 162.3; p<0.001) for microcephaly.
Conclusions
Congenital anomalies in children with CP are found much more frequently than expected by chance. A common pathogenic mechanism may account for the coexistence of disparate congenital anomalies. A hypothesis is proposed for such a common pathogenic mechanism.
doi:10.1136/adc.2006.107375
PMCID: PMC2675398  PMID: 17428819
23.  Tissue plasminogen activator inhibitor in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and thrombosis. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1990;300(6732):1099-1102.
OBJECTIVE--To examine the relations among tissue plasminogen activator antigen, plasminogen activator inhibitor, the lupus anticoagulant, and anticardiolipin antibodies in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. DESIGN--Prospective study of blood samples (a) from selected patients with systemic lupus erythematosus whose disease was and was not complicated by a history of thrombosis or recurrent abortions, or both, and (b) from a series of healthy controls with a similar age and sex distribution. SETTING--University based medical clinic. SUBJECTS--23 Patients with definite systemic lupus erythematosus (American Rheumatism Association criteria), of whom 11 (eight women) aged 26-51 had a history of thrombosis or recurrent abortions, or both, and 12 (10 women) aged 23-53 had no such history. 15 Healthy subjects (10 women) aged 25-58 served as controls. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Tissue plasminogen activator concentrations, plasminogen activator inhibitor activities, detection of the lupus anticoagulant, and values of anticardiolipin antibodies in the two groups of patients and in the patients with a history of thrombosis or abortions compared with controls. Other measurements included concentrations of proteins that are known to change during the acute phase of systemic lupus erythematosus--namely, fibrinogen, C3 and C4, and C reactive protein. RESULTS--Patients with a history of thrombosis or abortions, or both, had significantly higher values of tissue plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor than patients with no such history. A significant correlation between tissue plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor (r = 0.80) was found only in the patients with a history of complications of their disease. The lupus anticoagulant was detected in six of the 11 patients with a history of thrombosis or abortions when tested by measuring the activated partial thromboplastin time but was found in all 11 patients when tested by measuring the diluted activated partial thromboplastin time. Nine of these 11 patients had raised values of anticardiolipin antibodies. The findings showed no relation to the activity of the disease. CONCLUSIONS--A significant correlation between tissue plasminogen activator concentrations and plasminogen activator inhibitor activities was found only in patients whose systemic lupus erythematosus was complicated by a history of thrombosis or recurrent abortions. The findings show that these patients have raised plasminogen activator inhibitor activities, and the frequent association between these raised activities and the presence of the lupus anticoagulant suggests that the two may be linked.
PMCID: PMC1662822  PMID: 2111722
24.  Prevalence, prenatal diagnosis and clinical features of oculo-auriculo-vertebral spectrum: a registry-based study in Europe 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2014;22(8):1026-1033.
Oculo-auriculo-vertebral spectrum is a complex developmental disorder characterised mainly by anomalies of the ear, hemifacial microsomia, epibulbar dermoids and vertebral anomalies. The aetiology is largely unknown, and the epidemiological data are limited and inconsistent. We present the largest population-based epidemiological study to date, using data provided by the large network of congenital anomalies registries in Europe. The study population included infants diagnosed with oculo-auriculo-vertebral spectrum during the 1990–2009 period from 34 registries active in 16 European countries. Of the 355 infants diagnosed with oculo-auriculo-vertebral spectrum, there were 95.8% (340/355) live born, 0.8% (3/355) fetal deaths, 3.4% (12/355) terminations of pregnancy for fetal anomaly and 1.5% (5/340) neonatal deaths. In 18.9%, there was prenatal detection of anomaly/anomalies associated with oculo-auriculo-vertebral spectrum, 69.7% were diagnosed at birth, 3.9% in the first week of life and 6.1% within 1 year of life. Microtia (88.8%), hemifacial microsomia (49.0%) and ear tags (44.4%) were the most frequent anomalies, followed by atresia/stenosis of external auditory canal (25.1%), diverse vertebral (24.3%) and eye (24.3%) anomalies. There was a high rate (69.5%) of associated anomalies of other organs/systems. The most common were congenital heart defects present in 27.8% of patients. The prevalence of oculo-auriculo-vertebral spectrum, defined as microtia/ear anomalies and at least one major characteristic anomaly, was 3.8 per 100 000 births. Twinning, assisted reproductive techniques and maternal pre-pregnancy diabetes were confirmed as risk factors. The high rate of different associated anomalies points to the need of performing an early ultrasound screening in all infants born with this disorder.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2013.287
PMCID: PMC4350601  PMID: 24398798
oculo-auriculo-vertebral spectrum; epidemiology; congenital anomalies; Europe
25.  Maternal depression, antidepressant prescriptions, and congenital anomaly risk in offspring: a population-based cohort study 
Bjog  2014;121(12):1471-1481.
Objective
To estimate risks of major congenital anomaly (MCA) among children of mothers prescribed antidepressants during early pregnancy or diagnosed with depression but without antidepressant prescriptions.
Design
Population-based cohort study.
Setting
Linked UK maternal–child primary care records.
Population
A total of 349 127 singletons liveborn between 1990 and 2009.
Methods
Odds ratios adjusted for maternal sociodemographics and comorbidities (aORs) were calculated for MCAs, comparing women with first-trimester selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and women with diagnosed but unmedicated depression, or women without diagnosed depression.
Main outcome measures
Fourteen system-specific MCA groups classified according to the European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies and five specific heart anomaly groups.
Results
Absolute risks of MCA were 2.7% (95% confidence interval, 95% CI, 2.6–2.8%) in children of mothers without diagnosed depression, 2.8% (95% CI 2.5–3.2%) in children of mothers with unmedicated depression, and 2.7% (95% CI 2.2–3.2%) and 3.1% (95% CI 2.2–4.1%) in children of mothers with SSRIs or TCAs, respectively. Compared with women without depression, MCA overall was not associated with unmedicated depression (aOR 1.07, 95% CI 0.96–1.18), SSRIs (aOR 1.01, 95% CI 0.88–1.17), or TCAs (aOR 1.09, 95% CI 0.87–1.38). Paroxetine was associated with increased heart anomalies (absolute risk 1.4% in the exposed group compared with 0.8% in women without depression; aOR 1.78, 95% CI 1.09–2.88), which decreased marginally when compared with women with diagnosed but unmedicated depression (aOR 1.67, 95% CI 1.00–2.80).
Conclusions
Overall MCA risk did not increase with maternal depression or with antidepressant prescriptions. Paroxetine was associated with increases of heart anomalies, although this could represent a chance finding from a large number of comparisons undertaken.
doi:10.1111/1471-0528.12682
PMCID: PMC4232879  PMID: 24612301
Antidepressants; congenital anomaly; depression; SSRIs; TCAs

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