Article

Gastroenterology consultations in pregnancy.

Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, 1685 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705-2281, USA.
Journal of Women's Health (Impact Factor: 1.9). 02/2011; 20(3):359-63. DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2010.2345
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Training in gastrointestinal (GI) disorders in pregnancy is required for all gastroenterology fellows. Nevertheless, the actual role of the gastroenterologist in the management of pregnant patients is unknown. Establishing the characteristics of GI consultations in pregnancy can help focus trainee education and prepare gastroenterologists for future practice. The purpose of this study was to determine the indications for consultations in pregnancy and the gastroenterologist's role in the evaluation and management of the pregnant patient.
A chart review was performed of all consecutive outpatient GI consultations for pregnant women at a high-volume obstetrics hospital over a 3-year period. Referring source, patient characteristics, indication(s) for consultation, diagnosis(es), change in management after consultation, and need for follow-up were recorded.
We reviewed 370 charts. The mean age (±standard deviation [SD]) at referral was 28.7 years ± 6.5, and mean weeks of gestation (±SD) was 21.3 ± 8.8. Obstetrician/gynecologists requested most consultations (70.1%). New GI symptoms arising in pregnancy comprised 35.4% of consultations, and worsening of a preexisting GI disorder comprised 24.4%. The most common indications for consultation were viral hepatitis (20.2%), nausea and vomiting (18.9%), and nonspecific abdominal pain (13.5%). The most common diagnoses were acute or chronic viral hepatitis (17.8%), hyperemesis gravidarum (15.1%), gastroesophageal reflux disease (14.3%), and constipation (13.0%). Consultation changed the diagnosis in 25.1% of patients and changed management in 78.6%. Follow-up was required in 77.3% of cases during pregnancy and 37.8% postpartum.
GI consultation in pregnancy is sought more frequently for the evaluation and management of GI disorders not unique to pregnancy than for pregnancy-unique disorders. Although GI consultation changed the diagnosis in a minority of cases, it changed management in the majority. Gastroenterologists should be familiar with the most common indications for consultation in pregnancy and be prepared to evaluate and manage pregnant women with GI disorders.

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