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Objective

  1. Top of page
  2. Objective
  3. Methods
  4. Results
  5. Conclusions

To investigate maternal cardiovascular function in women with a previous pregnancy complicated by early onset pre-eclampsia.

Methods

  1. Top of page
  2. Objective
  3. Methods
  4. Results
  5. Conclusions

Retrospective case-control study of non-pregnant women with a previous singleton pregnancy complicated by pre-eclampsia delivered < 34 weeks (n = 15) and women with a previous uncomplicated pregnancy (n = 15). Women with chronic hypertension or other medical complications were excluded. Maternal echocardiography, ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) measurements and radial artery pulse waveform analysis were performed.

Results

  1. Top of page
  2. Objective
  3. Methods
  4. Results
  5. Conclusions

The mean interval between delivery and examination was 849 ± 226 days in cases and 895 ± 224 days in controls (p = 0.58). Diastolic blood pressure, but not systolic or mean pressure, was higher in formerly pre-eclamptic women compared to controls (p < 0.05). On bidimensional echocardiography, left atrial diameter was significantly lower in this group (p < 0.05), while other measurements, cardiac output and ejection fraction did not differ. Indices of ventricular diastolic function measured with tissue Doppler imaging such as the Em/Am and E/Em ratios were significantly worse in cases (p < 0.05). Pulse wave velocity did not differ between groups, while IMT was higher in former pre-eclamptics (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

  1. Top of page
  2. Objective
  3. Methods
  4. Results
  5. Conclusions

In normotensive non-pregnant women with a previous pregnancy complicated by early onset pre-eclampsia, as compared to controls, there is decreased diastolic maternal cardiac function, a higher diastolic blood pressure, and increased IMT. These findings may represent risk factors for cardiovascular complications in later life.