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Pregnant Woman Stable After Liver Transplant

November 11, 1986

CHICAGO (AP) _ A pregnant woman received a new liver in what was called only the second such transplant performed during pregnancy, and the outlook for both the woman and the fetus was good, doctors said Monday.

Melanie Schmoeller, 23, of suburban Elmwood Park underwent the transplant Oct. 30, when she was 18 weeks pregnant, to replace her own, hepatitis-damaged liver, said officials at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center. The operation was not made public until Monday.

Mrs. Schmoeller was talking, sitting up in bed and eating normally Monday, said Dr. James W. Williams, director of the hospital’s transplant section.

″She’s fine,″ he said, but added that she has not yet fully recovered from some effects of her illness.

There are no signs that the woman’s fetus had suffered any harm either, he said.

Mrs. Schmoeller’s husband, Edward, said, ″She is doing just really great, remarkably well considering.″

Williams said Mrs. Schmoeller had developed a severe case of hepatitis after becoming pregnant, and her condition worsened until she became comatose.

The doctor said that to his knowledge, only one other liver transplant on a pregnant woman had been performed. That took place in Pittsburgh in May. While the mother survived that transplant, the baby was born prematurely and died a month later, he said.

″This was unusual in my experience, unique in our series,″ said Williams, who has performed 100 liver transplant operations at the hospital.

Williams said the pregnancy did not pose any particular problem, but doctors took precautions to try to minimize the fetus’ exposure to medication.

Under normal circumstances, patients have a 25 percent mortality rate in the first six months after a liver transplant, he said.

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