Review of a challenging clinical issue: Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy

Ozkan S., Ceylan Y., ÖZKAN O. V., Yildirim S.

WORLD JOURNAL OF GASTROENTEROLOGY, vol.21, no.23, pp.7134-7141, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 21 Issue: 23
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i23.7134
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.7134-7141
  • Kocaeli University Affiliated: Yes


Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) is a reversible pregnancy-specific cholestatic condition characterized by pruritus, elevated liver enzymes, and increased serum bile acids. It commences usually in the late second or third trimester, and quickly resolves after delivery. The incidence is higher in South American and Scandinavian countries (9.2%-15.6% and 1.5%, respectively) than in Europe (0.1%-0.2%). The etiology is multifactorial where genetic, endocrine, and environmental factors interact. Maternal outcome is usually benign, whereas fetal complications such as preterm labor, meconium staining, fetal distress, and sudden intrauterine fetal demise not infrequently lead to considerable perinatal morbidity and mortality. Ursodeoxycholic acid is shown to be the most efficient therapeutic agent with proven safety and efficacy. Management of ICP consists of careful monitoring of maternal hepatic function tests and serum bile acid levels in addition to the assessment of fetal well-being and timely delivery after completion of fetal pulmonary maturity. This review focuses on the current concepts about ICP based on recent literature data and presents an update regarding the diagnosis and management of this challenging issue.