To map existing organizational care pathways in clinical centers of expertise that care for pregnant women affected by rare and complex connective tissue diseases (rcCTDs).
An international working group composed of experts in the field of pregnancy in rcCTDs co-designed a survey focused on organizational aspects related to the patient’s pathway before, during and after pregnancy. The survey was deployed to subject experts via referral sampling.
Answers were collected from 69 centers in 21 countries. Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and/or antiphospholipid syndrome were followed by more than 90% of centers, while diseases such as IgG4-related diseases were rarely covered. In the majority of centers, a multidisciplinary team was involved, including an obstetrician/gynaecologist in 91.3% of cases and other healthcare professionals less frequently. Respondents indicated that 96.0% of the centers provided routine pre-pregnancy care, while the number of patient visits during pregnancy varied across centers. A formalized care-pathway was described in 49.2% of centers, and 20.3% of centers had a pre-defined protocol for the monitoring of pregnant patients. Access to therapies during pregnancy also was heterogeneous among different centers.
In international referral centers, a high level of care is provided to patients with rcCTDs before, during and after pregnancy. No significant discrepancies were found between European and non-European countries. However, this work highlights a potential benefit to streamline the care approaches across countries in order to optimize pregnancy and perinatal outcomes among patients with rcCTDs.