Hypertensive Pregnancy And Childhood Asthma Risk - EMJ

Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy Do Not Increase Childhood Asthma Risk

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HYPERTENSIVE disorders of pregnancy (HDP) do not contribute to asthma risk in children, according to a recent study. The study in question examined over 14,000 mother-child pairs (mean maternal age at delivery: 30.3 years), comprising children born between 1998–2016 at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston, USA.  

Data was sourced from the MGH Maternal-Child Cohort (MMCC), and analysed using multivariable regression analysis to control for confounding variables. Maternal HDP were characterised according to elevated blood pressure (140 systolic blood pressure; 90 diastolic blood pressure), in the absence of pre-existing hypertension recorded on two instances after 20 weeks’ gestation; or, conversely, on one occasion after 20 weeks’ gestation accompanied by documentation of HDP by a consulting obstetrician. Asthma was characterised by primary diagnosis in electronic health records, or by two-or-more asthma medication ‘events’ within a single year in children aged between 3–4.99 years. 

Of the children studied, over 2,000 (14.4%) were diagnosed with asthma within the first 5 years of life. A total of 91.7% of the afflicted cohort were born to mothers without HDP, indicating a mere 8.3% prevalence of asthma in children born to mothers with HDP. Of this minority, just over half (51.7%) were specifically born to mothers with pre-eclampsia. In neither the unadjusted (odds ratio: 51.07; 95% confidence interval: 0.90–1.26) nor adjusted (odds ratio: 50.94; 95% confidence interval: 0.79–1.12) analyses was HDP significantly associated with childhood asthma. 

Study author Anna Chen Arroyo, Stanford University, California, USA, and colleagues, highlighted the importance of further, more concentrated, research, concluding: “While HDP may not be a significant risk factor for childhood asthma, further investigation is still needed regarding the relation of specific hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (e.g., pre-eclampsia) and asthma risk.” 



Arroyo AC et al. Maternal hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and the risk of childhood asthma. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2024;20(9):1367-70.

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