Previous studies of patients with diabetic nephropathy and mild renal impairment have suggested no determination in renal function as a result of pregnancy. The objective of this study was to determine whether pregnancy may permanently worsen renal function in women with diabetic nephropathy and moderate-to-severe renal insufficiency.
Eleven patients were identified with diabetic nephropathy and moderate-to-severe renal dysfunction (creatinine [Cr] ≥ 124 μmol/l [1.4 mg/dl]) at pregnancy onset by retrospective chart review. Alterations in glomerular filtration rate were estimated by using linear regression of the reciprocal of Cr over time. An equal number of nonpregnant premenopausal type 1 diabetic women with similar degrees of renal dysfunction served as a comparison group for nonpregnant rate of decline of renal function and potential contributing factors.
Mean serum Cr rose from 159 μmol/l (1.8 mg/dl) prepregnancy to 221 μmol/l (2.5 mg/dl) in the third trimester. Renal function was stable in 27%, showed transient worsening in pregnancy in 27%, and demonstrated a permanent decline in 45%. Proteinuria increased in pregnancy in 79%. Exacerbation of hypertension or preeclampsia occurred in 73%. Seven patients progressed to dialysis 6–57 months postpartum, with 71% (five of seven) of these cases attributed to acceleration of disease during the pregnancy. Student's t tests and repeated-measures analysis of variance support a pregnancy-induced acceleration in the rate of decline of renal function.
In this series, patients with diabetic nephropathy and moderate-to-severe renal insufficiency were found to have a > 40% chance of accelerated progression of their disease as a result of pregnancy.