Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy linked to post-delivery heart risks: Study

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
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Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy
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The researchers at Rutgers Health have discovered that hypertensive problems during pregnancy are substantially related to deadly cardiovascular disease up to a year after birth.

All hypertensive disorders that cause dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy–chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension, preeclampsia without severe features, preeclampsia with severe features, superimposed preeclampsia, and eclampsia–except gestational diabetes, were associated with a doubling in the risk of fatal cardiovascular disease compared to women with normal blood pressure.

According to a study published in Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, Eclampsia, a syndrome in which hypertension issues cause seizures, was linked to a roughly 58-fold increase in fatal cardiovascular disease.

The lead author Rachel Lee, a data analyst at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, said that, “Maternal and postpartum mortality rates in the US are higher than in other high-income countries and rising, but more than half of cardiovascular disease-related deaths are preventable.”

“This study provides new information about how each hypertensive disorder is related to fatal cardiovascular disease, so healthcare providers can monitor patients with such complications more closely and develop strategies for keeping them healthy postpartum,” Lee added.

The researchers used the Nationwide Readmissions Database to examine pregnancy-related mortality rates for females 15 to 54 years old from 2010 to 2018. Data from more than 33 million delivery hospitalizations identified hypertensive disorders in 11 percent of patients, but that number increased with time.

In 2010, 9.4 percent of patients in the study had hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. By 2018, that figure had risen by more than half to 14.4 percent.

“We’ve gotten better at predicting, diagnosing, and treating preeclampsia in this country, so the risk of death is falling for any individual patient with that condition,” said Cande Ananth, chief of the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and senior author of the study.

Pregnant people with hypertensive disorders, especially those with pre-existing hypertension, need high-quality care as heart disease and related cardiac symptoms can be confused with common symptoms of normal pregnancy.

According to the statement, delays in diagnosis are associated with an increased incidence of preventable complications, the study authors said. Early identification and optimal treatment of hypertensive disorders, especially preeclampsia-eclampsia, are crucial for the primary prevention of maternal stroke.

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