Study Reveals Prevalence of Women with Heart Disease Delivering Babies Is Increasing

The Stony Brook-led analyses, reported in the American Journal of Cardiology, may prompt new guidelines for screening and care during pregnancy

Article ID: 674604

Released: 12-May-2017 11:05 AM EDT

Source Newsroom: Stony Brook University

  • Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD

Newswise — Stony Brook, NY, May 12, 2017 – A study of more than 80,000 women with heart disease from 2003 to 2012 reveals that the prevalence of women with heart disease delivering babies increased by 24 percent over that 10-year period. This jump, reported in a Stony Brook University-led study to be published May 15 in the American Journal of Cardiology, may prompt greater awareness of heart disease in women of childbearing age, heighten individual screening of heart disease in pregnant patients, and institute a multidisciplinary approach to labor and delivery.

Heart disease is the most common cause of death among pregnant women in the United States and other developed countries. There remain significant gaps in understanding of the prevalence, trends and outcomes of heart disease in pregnancy in the U.S. population. Investigation of trends and outcomes in heart disease and pregnancy has been limited.

In this study, researchers used the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project’s National Impatient Sample to better determine the trends and relationship between women with heart disease and delivering babies. To do this, they studied existing heart conditions and outcomes using a large sample of women with heart disease (81,295) and without heart disease (39,894,032).

“We learned that in addition to the high and growing prevalence of women with heart disease delivering babies, the reasons are mainly related to increases in women delivering babies with diseases such as cardiomyopathy, adult congenital heart disease, and pulmonary hypertension,” said lead author Kathleen Stergiopoulos, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and a specialist in heart disease in women at the Stony Brook Heart Institute.

The study also showed that major adverse cardiac events in pregnant women with heart disease increased by nearly 19 percent, and there is a significant and gradual increase in these events for women who have delivered babies and have heart disease. The most common events for women with heart disease were heart failure and arrhythmia.

According to Dr. Stergiopoulos, while a maternal death is a rare event, the findings should impact clinical practices when caring for women with heart disease who are pregnant.

She emphasized that future strategies to mitigate risk in these women include individualized preconception counseling and heart disease risk stratification, meticulous pregnancy follow-up, and a multi-disciplinary approach to labor and delivery that includes a coordinated approach to labor and delivery for those with heart disease that includes specialists from Cardiology, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Obstetrical Anesthesiology and Neonatology.

The study co-authors include Stony Brook faculty from multiple University Departments. Co-authors are Fabio V. Lima, MD, MPH, of the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology; Jie Yang, PhD, in the Department of Family, Population and Preventive Medicine; and Jianjin Xu, MS, of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics.

The research was supported in part by the American Heart Association and an American Medical Association Foundation Seed Grant.

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About Stony Brook University Stony Brook University is going beyond the expectations of what today’s public universities can accomplish. Since its founding in 1957, this young university has grown to become one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system with more than 25,700 students, 2,500 faculty members, and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Our faculty have earned numerous prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. The University offers students an elite education with an outstanding return on investment: U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 40 public universities in the nation. Its membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. As part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University joins a prestigious group of universities that have a role in running federal R&D labs. Stony Brook University is a driving force in the region’s economy, generating nearly 60,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of $4.65 billion. Our state, country and world demand ambitious ideas, imaginative solutions and exceptional leadership to forge a better future for all. The students, alumni, researchers and faculty of Stony Brook University are prepared to meet this challenge.


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