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      Risk of post-pregnancy hypertension in women with a history of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy: nationwide cohort study

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          Objectives To determine how soon after delivery the risk of post-pregnancy hypertension increases in women with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and how the risk evolves over time.

          Design Nationwide register based cohort study.

          Setting Denmark.

          Populations 482 972 primiparous women with a first live birth or stillbirth between 1995 and 2012 (cumulative incidence analyses), and 1 025 118 women with at least one live birth or stillbirth between 1978 and 2012 (Cox regression analyses).

          Main outcome measures 10 year cumulative incidences of post-pregnancy hypertension requiring treatment with prescription drugs, and hazard ratios estimated using Cox regression.

          Results Of women with a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy in a first pregnancy in their 20s, 14% developed hypertension in the first decade post partum, compared with 4% of women with normotensive first pregnancies in their 20s. The corresponding percentages for women with a first pregnancy in their 40s were 32% and 11%, respectively. In the year after delivery, women with a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy had 12-fold to 25-fold higher rates of hypertension than did women with a normotensive pregnancy. Rates in women with a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy were threefold to 10-fold higher 1-10 years post partum and remained twice as high even 20 or more years later.

          Conclusions The risk of hypertension associated with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy is high immediately after an affected pregnancy and persists for more than 20 years. Up to one third of women with a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy may develop hypertension within a decade of an affected pregnancy, indicating that cardiovascular disease prevention in these women should include blood pressure monitoring initiated soon after pregnancy.

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          Most cited references 27

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          The Danish National Patient Register.

          The Danish National Patient Register (NPR) was established in 1977, and it is considered to be the finest of its kind internationally. At the onset the register included information on inpatient in somatic wards. The content of the register has gradually been expanded, and since 2007 the register has included information on all patients in Danish hospitals. Although the NPR is overall a sound data source, both the content and the definitions of single variables have changed over time. Changes in the organisation and provision of health services may affect both the type and the completeness of registrations. The NPR is a unique data source. Researchers using the data should carefully consider potential fallacies in the data before drawing conclusions.
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            2016 European Guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention in clinical practice: The Sixth Joint Task Force of the European Society of Cardiology and Other Societies on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Clinical Practice (constituted by representatives of 10 societies and by invited experts)Developed with the special contribution of the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation (EACPR).

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              Hypertension in pregnancy. Report of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Task Force on Hypertension in Pregnancy.

               ,   (2013)

                Author and article information

                [1 ]Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Artillerivej 5, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark
                [2 ]Department of Obstetrics, Copenhagen University Hospital (Rigshospitalet), Copenhagen, Denmark
                [3 ]The Heart Centre, Copenhagen University Hospital (Rigshospitalet), Copenhagen, Denmark
                [4 ]Fetal Medicine Unit, St George’s Hospital, University of London, London, UK
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: H A Boyd hoy@
                Role: physician
                Role: statistician
                Role: department head
                Role: associate professor and consultant obstetrician
                Role: chief statistician
                Role: professor and consultant cardiologist
                Role: professor and director of fetal medicine
                Role: senior researcher
                The BMJ
                BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.
                12 July 2017
                : 358
                Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to

                This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:




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