Familial hypercholesterolaemia in pregnancy: Australian case series and review

Mary Nangrahary, Dorothy F. Graham, Jing Pang, Wendy Barnett, Gerald F. Watts

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) is associated with a significant increase in the risk of premature coronary artery disease. Pregnancy is likely a vulnerable time for atherosclerosis progression, with a physiological rise in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) further exaggerated by the discontinuation of cholesterol-lowering therapy.

Materials and Methods A retrospective review was undertaken of 13 women with familial hypercholesterolemia who were managed during pregnancy between 2007 and 2021 by a multidisciplinary team following individualised risk assessment.

Results Overall, pregnancy outcomes were good, with no maternal or fetal complications, including congenital abnormalities, maternal cardiac events or hypertensive complications. Loss of statin treatment time ranged between 12 months and 3.5 years resulting from the accumulation of the preconception, pregnancy and lactation periods and was magnified in women having more than one pregnancy. Of seven women treated with cholestyramine, one developed abnormal liver function with an elevated international normalisation ratio which was corrected with vitamin K.

Conclusion Pregnancy is associated with prolonged cessation of cholesterol-lowering therapy, a concern with respect to the risk of coronary artery disease in FH. Continuation of statin therapy up to conception and even during pregnancy in patients at higher risk of cardiovascular disease may be justified, especially with increasing evidence supporting the safety of statin therapy during pregnancy. However, more long-term maternal and fetal data are required for the routine use of statins during pregnancy. Guideline-informed models of care covering family planning and pregnancy should be implemented for all women with FH.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-408
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number3
Early online date8 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


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