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COVID-19 Evidence Alerts
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Manuscript Juan J, Gil MM, Rong Z, et al. Effects of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on maternal, perinatal and neonatal outcomes: a systematic review. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2020 May 19. doi: 10.1002/uog.22088.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effects of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on maternal, perinatal and neonatal outcomes by performing a systematic review of available published literature on pregnancies affected by COVID-19.

METHODS: We performed a systematic review to evaluate the effects of COVID-19 on pregnancy, perinatal and neonatal outcomes. We conducted a comprehensive literature search using PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, China National Knowledge Infrastructure Database and Wan Fang Data until 20 April 2020 (studies were identified through PubMed alert after that date). For the research strategy, combinations of the following keywords and MeSH terms were used: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, coronavirus disease 2019, pregnancy, gestation, maternal, mothers, vertical transmission, maternal-fetal transmission, intrauterine transmission, neonates, infant, delivery. Eligibility criteria included laboratory-confirmed and/or clinically diagnosed COVID-19, patient being pregnant on admission and availability of clinical characteristics, including at least one maternal, perinatal or neonatal outcome. Exclusion criteria were non-peer-reviewed or unpublished reports, unspecified date and location of the study, suspicion of duplicate reporting, and unreported maternal or perinatal outcomes. No language restrictions were applied.

RESULTS: We identified a high number of relevant case reports and case series, but only 24 studies, including a total of 324 pregnant women with COVID-19, met the eligibility criteria and were included in the systematic review. These comprised nine case series (eight consecutive) and 15 case reports. A total of 20 pregnant patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 were included in the case reports. In the combined data from the eight consecutive case series, including 211 (71.5%) cases of laboratory-confirmed and 84 (28.5%) of clinically diagnosed COVID-19, the maternal age ranged from 20 to 44 years and the gestational age on admission ranged from 5 to 41 weeks. The most common symptoms at presentation were fever, cough, dyspnea/shortness of breath, fatigue and myalgia. The rate of severe pneumonia reported amongst the case series ranged from 0 to 14%, with the majority of the cases requiring admission to the intensive care unit. Almost all cases from the case series had positive computer tomography chest findings. All six and 22 cases that had nucleic-acid testing in vaginal mucus and breast milk samples, respectively, were negative for SARS-CoV-2. Only four cases of spontaneous miscarriage or abortion were reported. In the consecutive case series, 219/295 women had delivered at the time of reporting, and the majority of these had Cesarean section. The gestational age at delivery ranged from 28 to 41 weeks. Apgar scores at 1 and 5 min ranged from 7 to 10 and 7 to 10, respectively. Only eight neonates had birth weight <2500 g and nearly one-third of cases were transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit. There was one case each of neonatal asphyxia and neonatal death. In 155 neonates that had nucleic-acid testing in throat swab, all, except three cases, were negative for SARS-CoV-2. There were seven maternal deaths, four intrauterine fetal deaths (one with twin pregnancy) and two neonatal deaths (twin pregnancy) reported in a non-consecutive case series of nine cases with severe COVID-19. From the case reports, two maternal deaths, one neonatal death and two cases of neonatal SARS-CoV-2 infection were reported.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite the increasing number of published studies on COVID-19 in pregnancy, there are insufficient good-quality data to draw unbiased conclusions with regard to the severity of the disease or specific complications of COVID-19 in pregnant women, as well as vertical transmission, perinatal and neonatal complications. In order to answer specific questions in relation to the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women and their fetuses through meaningful good-quality research, we urge researchers and investigators to present complete outcome data and reference previously published cases in their publications, and to record such reporting when the data of a case are entered into a registry or several registries. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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