Pregnancy Outcome Following Exposure to Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors or Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists: A Systematic Review

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The objective was to analyze the outcome following prenatal exposure to angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-Is) or angiotensin receptor antagonists (ARBs). For this purpose, a systematic review of published case reports and case series dealing with intrauterine exposure to ACE-Is or to ARBs using Medline as the source of data was performed. The publications retained for analysis included patients who were described individually, revealing, at minimum, the gestational age, substance used, period of medication intake, and the outcome. In total, 72 reports were included; 37 articles (118 well-documented cases) described the prenatal exposure to ACE-Is; and 35 articles (68 cases) described the prenatal exposure to ARBs. Overall, 52% of the newborns exposed to ACE-Is and 13% of the newborns exposed to ARBs did not exhibit any complications (P<0.0001). Neonatal complications were more frequent following exposure to ARBs and included renal failure, oligohydramnios, death, arterial hypotension, intrauterine growth retardation, respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary hypoplasia, hypocalvaria, limb defects, persistent patent ductus arteriosus, or cerebral complications. The long-term outcome is described as positive in only 50% of the exposed children. Fetopathy caused by exposure to ACE-Is or ARBs has relevant neonatal and long-term complications. The outcome is poorer following exposure to ARBs. We propose the term “fetal renin-angiotensin system blockade syndrome” to describe the related clinical findings. Thirty years after the first description of ACE-I fetopathy, relevant complications are, at present, regularly described, indicating that the awareness of the deleterious effect of prenatal exposure to drugs inhibiting the renin-angiotensin system should be improved.

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