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Neuromyelitis optica and pregnancy

Neuromyelitis optica and pregnancy

B. Bourre, MD,
R. Marignier, MD,
H. Zéphir, MD,
C. Papeix, MD,
D. Brassat, MD, PhD,
G. Castelnovo, MD,
N. Collongues, MD, PhD,
S. Vukusic, MD, PhD,
P. Labauge, MD, PhD,
O. Outteryck, MD,
B. Fontaine, MD, PhD,
P. Vermersch, MD, PhD,
C. Confavreux, MD, PhD and
J. de Seze, MD, PhD On behalf of the NOMADMUS Study Group


Objective: The purpose of our study was to assess the influence of pregnancy on the course of neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and the impact of epidural analgesia and breastfeeding on its activity in the postpartum period.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study of patients with NMO diagnosed according to Wingerchuk criteria. We noted the number of relapses during the year before pregnancy (BP), during pregnancy (first trimester, second trimester, third trimester), and the year after (Y + 1: first trimester, second trimester [PP2], and third and fourth trimesters postpartum). Epidural analgesia and breastfeeding were recorded. Disability was evaluated with the Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). The annualized relapse rate (ARR) was calculated.

Results: We identified 124 patients (85 female) in the French NOMADMUS cohort on November 1, 2010. A total of 20 women (including 25 pregnancies) were informative with complete files. Comparisons between the ARR of each period and BP (1.0 ± 0.09) only showed an increased tendency for PP2 (0.8 ± 0.06, p = 0.07). Epidural analgesia and breastfeeding had no influence on the course of NMO. The EDSS score increased from 1.5 ± 1.7 BP to 2.6 ± 1.9 Y + 1 (p = 0.027).

Conclusion: This study shows that pregnancy influences the activity of NMO, a finding that justifies close medical monitoring. We found no evidence to suggest that either epidural analgesia or breastfeeding has an aggravating effect on NMO.

Received June 8, 2011.
Accepted September 29, 2011.
Copyright © 2012 by AAN Enterprises, Inc.

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