Background: While miliary tuberculosis (TB) in pregnancy is rare after in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET), it poses a serious threat to the health of pregnant women and their fetuses. The present study aimed to describe the clinical features of miliary TB and pregnancy outcomes of patients after IVF-ET.
Methods: Data of infertile patients who received IVF-ET at Peking University Third Hospital between January 2012 to December 2017 were retrospectively analyzed. Patients who developed miliary TB during pregnancy were identified, and clinical characteristics of miliary TB were described. The keywords “infertility,” “in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer,” and “tuberculosis” were used to search for articles published from 1980 to 2019 in PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Chinese Wanfang databases.
Results: Of 62,755 enrolled women, 7,137 (11.4%) showed signs of prior pulmonary TB on chest X-ray (CXR). Seven patients aged 28–35 years had miliary TB during pregnancy, with two patients having a complication of TB meningitis. All of these patients presented with fever. Notably, old TB lesions were detected on CXR in six patients before IVF-ET; nevertheless, no anti-TB therapy was administered. Furthermore, salpingography revealed oviduct obstruction in all patients (7/7). Patients received anti-TB therapy following a diagnosis of miliary TB and were clinically cured. However, pregnancy was terminated due to spontaneous (4/7) and induced (3/7) abortion. Previous literature indicates that signs of prior TB on CXR and oviduct obstruction on laparoscopy are risk factors for TB reactivation during pregnancy, which displayed a trend for hematogenous dissemination.
Conclusions: TB reactivation, mostly as miliary TB and TB meningitis, is severe in pregnant women after IVF-ET and deleterious to pregnancy outcomes. Physicians should not only enhance awareness about miliary TB, but also consider the occurrence of this form of TB, particularly in patients presenting with unknown fever as well as those in whom risk factors for TB reactivation such as primary infertility, untreated prior pulmonary TB, and fallopian tube obstruction coexist.