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Electrocardiographic findings in women with a recent history of pre-eclampsia


  • Please cite this article as: Hoogsteder PHJ, Krüse AJ, Sep SJS, Dassen WR, Gorgels AP, Peeters LL. Electrocardiographic findings in women with a recent history of pre-eclampsia. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2012;91: DOI:10.1111/j.1600-0412.2011.01328.x.

Philippe H.J. Hoogsteder, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands. E-mail:

Conflict of interestThe authors have stated explicitly that there are no conflicts of interest in connection with this article.


Abstract Objective. To assess the prevalence of electrocardiographic (ECG) abnormalities after a pregnancy complicated by pre-eclampsia and/or syndrome of hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets (PE) and to compare the ECG characteristics, at least six months after pregnancy, between primiparous early-onset PE women with and without recurrent PE. Design. Longitudinal observational study. Setting. Tertiary referral centre in The Netherlands from 1996 to 2008. Sample. Six hundred and fifty-eight formerly pre-eclamptic women. For our second objective, we used a subgroup of 79 primiparae with a history of early-onset PE. Methods. Data were obtained during a postpartum screening program for women with hypertensive disorders during pregnancy. Main outcome measures. Electrocardiographic abnormalities in PE women and characteristics of the ECG in women with recurrent PE after a first pregnancy complicated by early-onset PE. Results. The ECG of 13 (2.0%), two (0.3%) and two (0.3%) former patients suggested ischemia, left ventricular hypertrophy and left atrial enlargement, respectively. Primiparae with recurrent PE in their second pregnancy differed from their counterparts with an uneventful second pregnancy by a leftward deviation of both the P- and the R-axes of 11° (p= 0.022) and 12° (p= 0.021), respectively, with a prolonged QT interval (p= 0.025). Conclusions. The prevalence of ECG abnormalities in women with a recent history of PE was low and did not differ appreciably from that in a large population of healthy women of comparable age. The ECGs in primiparae with a history of early-onset PE who developed recurrent PE in their second pregnancy differed slightly from women with an uneventful second pregnancy, probably related to potential confounders.

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