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      Preeclampsia and Maternal Cardiovascular Disease: Consequence or Predisposition?

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          Formerly preeclamptic women stand a higher chance of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) later in life and may experience a shortened life span. This review updates the pathophysiology and definition of this complex disease and highlights the protective role of pregnancy by considering the relationship between pregnancy interval and likelihood of disease recurrence. The evidence for persistent maternal cardiovascular impairment following preeclampsia (PE) is considered, e.g. postpartum changes in CVD occurrence, blood pressure elevation and changes in the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system). Since maternal endothelial dysfunction is a hallmark of PE, we summarize the evidence for reduced flow-mediated dilation in women with previous PE, and consider the utility and shortcomings of this clinical measure. In addition to viewing postpartum changes as a consequence of this disease, we consider the alternative view that PE might be the manifestation of a maternal phenotype that already has some predisposition to or is in the earlier stages of CVD; in this case, some of the postpartum residual deficits (or their antecedents) may have already been present prior to pregnancy. Finally, we consider the use of novel biomarkers for predicting or detecting PE prior to the appearance of clinical symptoms.

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          Most cited references 111

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          Preeclampsia, a disease of the maternal endothelium: the role of antiangiogenic factors and implications for later cardiovascular disease.

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            Cardiovascular sequelae of preeclampsia/eclampsia: a systematic review and meta-analyses.

            Preeclampsia affects 3% to 5% of gestations and eclampsia 0.05% to 0.93%, but their subsequent cardiovascular sequelae are unclear. The aim of this study was to determine if women with a history of preeclampsia/eclampsia are at increased risk of long-term cardiovascular sequelae. From Medline and Embase searches, we included case-control and cohort studies that examined cardiac, cerebrovascular or peripheral arterial disease, or cardiovascular mortality>6 weeks postpartum, in women with and without a history of preeclampsia/eclampsia and that controlled for or matched for confounders. Two independent reviewers determined study eligibility and extracted data. Five case-control and 10 cohort studies met eligibility criteria, with a total of 116,175 women with and 2,259,576 women without preeclampsia/eclampsia. Most studies focused on women<56 years of age. Relative to women with uncomplicated pregnancies, women with a history of preeclampsia/eclampsia had an increased risk of subsequent cardiac disease in both the case-control studies (odds ratio 2.47, 95% CI 1.22-5.01) and the cohort studies (relative risk [RR] 2.33, 1.95-2.78), as well as an increased risk of cerebrovascular disease (RR 2.03, 1.54-2.67), peripheral arterial disease (RR 1.87, 0.94-3.73), and cardiovascular mortality (RR 2.29, 1.73-3.04). Meta-regression revealed a graded relationship between the severity of preeclampsia/eclampsia and the risk of cardiac disease (mild: RR 2.00, 1.83-2.19, moderate: RR 2.99, 2.51-3.58, severe: RR 5.36, 3.96-7.27, P<.0001). Women with a history of preeclampsia/eclampsia have approximately double the risk of early cardiac, cerebrovascular, and peripheral arterial disease, and cardiovascular mortality. Further research is needed to determine the mechanisms underlying these associations and to identify effective prevention strategies.
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              The two stage model of preeclampsia: variations on the theme.

              The Two Stage Model of preeclampsia proposes that a poorly perfused placenta (Stage 1) produces factor(s) leading to the clinical manifestations of preeclampsia (Stage 2). Stage 1 is not sufficient to cause the maternal syndrome but interacts with maternal constitutional factors (genetic, behavioral or environmental) to result in Stage 2. Recent information indicates the necessity for modifications of this model. It is apparent that changes relevant to preeclampsia and other implantation disorders can be detected in the first trimester, long before the failed vascular remodeling necessary to reduce placental perfusion is completed. In addition, although the factor(s) released from the placenta has usually been considered a toxin, we suggest that what is released may also be an appropriate signal from the fetal/placental unit to overcome reduced nutrient availability that cannot be tolerated by some women who develop preeclampsia. Further, it is evident that linkage is not likely to be one factor but several, different for different women. Also although the initial model limited the role of maternal constitutional factors to the genesis of Stage 2, this does not appear to be the case. It is evident that the factors increasing risk for preeclampsia are also associated with abnormal implantation. These several modifications have important implications. An earlier origin for Stage 1, which appears to be recognizable by altered concentrations of placental products, could allow earlier intervention. The possibility of a fetal placental factor increasing nutrient availability could provide novel therapeutic options. Different linkages and preeclampsia subtypes could direct specific preventive treatments for different women while the role of maternal constitutional factors to affect placentation provides targets for prepregnancy therapy. The modified Two Stage Model provides a useful guide towards investigating pathophysiology and guiding therapy.

                Author and article information

                J Vasc Res
                Journal of Vascular Research
                S. Karger AG
                October 2014
                08 October 2014
                : 51
                : 4
                : 290-304
                Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, Vt., USA
                Author notes
                *Dr. George Osol, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT 05405 (USA), E-Mail
                367627 J Vasc Res 2014;51:290-304
                © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 1, Pages: 15


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