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      Cardiovascular Complications of Pregnancy


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          Pregnancy causes significant metabolic and hemodynamic changes in a woman’s physiology to allow for fetal growth. The inability to adapt to these changes might result in the development of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (hypertension, preeclampsia or eclampsia), gestational diabetes and preterm birth. Contrary to previous beliefs these complications are not limited to the pregnancy period and may leave permanent vascular and metabolic damage. There is in addition, a direct association between these disorders and increased risk of future cardiovascular disease (CVD, including hypertension, ischemic heart disease, heart failure and stroke) and diabetes mellitus. Despite abundant evidence of this association, women who present with these complications of pregnancy do not receive adequate postpartum follow up and counseling regarding their increased risk of future CVD. The postpartum period in these women represents a unique opportunity to intervene with lifestyle modifications designed to reduce the development of premature cardiovascular complications. In some cases it allows early diagnosis and treatment of chronic hypertension or diabetes mellitus. The awareness of this relationship is growing in the medical community, especially among obstetricians and primary care physicians, who play a pivotal role in detecting these complications and assuring appropriate follow up.

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          Gestational diabetes and the incidence of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review.

          To examine factors associated with variation in the risk for type 2 diabetes in women with prior gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). We conducted a systematic literature review of articles published between January 1965 and August 2001, in which subjects underwent testing for GDM and then testing for type 2 diabetes after delivery. We abstracted diagnostic criteria for GDM and type 2 diabetes, cumulative incidence of type 2 diabetes, and factors that predicted incidence of type 2 diabetes. A total of 28 studies were examined. After the index pregnancy, the cumulative incidence of diabetes ranged from 2.6% to over 70% in studies that examined women 6 weeks postpartum to 28 years postpartum. Differences in rates of progression between ethnic groups was reduced by adjustment for various lengths of follow-up and testing rates, so that women appeared to progress to type 2 diabetes at similar rates after a diagnosis of GDM. Cumulative incidence of type 2 diabetes increased markedly in the first 5 years after delivery and appeared to plateau after 10 years. An elevated fasting glucose level during pregnancy was the risk factor most commonly associated with future risk of type 2 diabetes. Conversion of GDM to type 2 diabetes varies with the length of follow-up and cohort retention. Adjustment for these differences reveals rapid increases in the cumulative incidence occurring in the first 5 years after delivery for different racial groups. Targeting women with elevated fasting glucose levels during pregnancy may prove to have the greatest effect for the effort required.
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            Pre-eclampsia part 1: current understanding of its pathophysiology.

            Pre-eclampsia is characterized by new-onset hypertension and proteinuria at ≥20 weeks of gestation. In the absence of proteinuria, hypertension together with evidence of systemic disease (such as thrombocytopenia or elevated levels of liver transaminases) is required for diagnosis. This multisystemic disorder targets several organs, including the kidneys, liver and brain, and is a leading cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. Glomeruloendotheliosis is considered to be a characteristic lesion of pre-eclampsia, but can also occur in healthy pregnant women. The placenta has an essential role in development of this disorder. Pathogenetic mechanisms implicated in pre-eclampsia include defective deep placentation, oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum stress, autoantibodies to type-1 angiotensin II receptor, platelet and thrombin activation, intravascular inflammation, endothelial dysfunction and the presence of an antiangiogenic state, among which an imbalance of angiogenesis has emerged as one of the most important factors. However, this imbalance is not specific to pre-eclampsia, as it also occurs in intrauterine growth restriction, fetal death, spontaneous preterm labour and maternal floor infarction (massive perivillous fibrin deposition). The severity and timing of the angiogenic imbalance, together with maternal susceptibility, might determine the clinical presentation of pre-eclampsia. This Review discusses the diagnosis, classification, clinical manifestations and putative pathogenetic mechanisms of pre-eclampsia.
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              Prevention of preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction with aspirin started in early pregnancy: a meta-analysis.

              To estimate the effect of low-dose aspirin started in early pregnancy on the incidence of preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed through electronic database searches (PubMed, Cochrane, Embase). Randomized controlled trials of pregnant women at risk of preeclampsia who were assigned to receive aspirin or placebo (or no treatment) were reviewed. Secondary outcomes included IUGR, severe preeclampsia and preterm birth. The effect of aspirin was analyzed as a function of gestational age at initiation of the intervention (16 weeks of gestation or less, 16 weeks of gestation or more). Thirty-four randomized controlled trials met the inclusion criteria, including 27 studies (11,348 women) with follow-up for the outcome of preeclampsia. Low-dose aspirin started at 16 weeks or earlier was associated with a significant reduction in preeclampsia (relative risk [RR] 0.47, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.34-0.65, prevalence in 9.3% treated compared with 21.3% control) and IUGR (RR 0.44, 95% CI 0.30-0.65, 7% treated compared with 16.3% control), whereas aspirin started after 16 weeks was not (preeclampsia: RR 0.81, 95% CI 0.63-1.03, prevalence in 7.3% treated compared with 8.1% control; IUGR: RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.87-1.10, 10.3% treated compared with 10.5% control). Low-dose aspirin started at 16 weeks or earlier also was associated with a reduction in severe preeclampsia (RR 0.09, 95% CI 0.02-0.37, 0.7% treated compared with 15.0% control), gestational hypertension (RR 0.62, 95% CI 0.45-0.84, 16.7% treated compared with 29.7% control), and preterm birth (RR 0.22, 95% CI 0.10-0.49, 3.5% treated compared with 16.9% control). Of note, all studies for which aspirin had been started at 16 weeks or earlier included women identified to be at moderate or high risk for preeclampsia. Low-dose aspirin initiated in early pregnancy is an efficient method of reducing the incidence of preeclampsia and IUGR.

                Author and article information

                Role: Academic Editor
                Int J Mol Sci
                Int J Mol Sci
                International Journal of Molecular Sciences
                09 October 2015
                October 2015
                : 16
                : 10
                : 23905-23928
                Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA; E-Mail: nwenger@ 123456emory.edu
                Author notes
                [* ]Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: mcgongo@ 123456emory.edu ; Tel.: +1-(404)-778-6566.
                © 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


                Molecular biology
                pregnancy complications,cardiovascular risk factors,hypertensive disorders of pregnancy,preeclampsia,gestational diabetes


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