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Linking high blood pressure with cardiovascular disease within 5 years of delivery

The link between a history of preeclampsia and increased chance for cardiovascular disease (CVD) later in life has been established. Preeclampsia and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) have been linked to morbidity and mortality. However, we still don't fully understand the role of risk factors such as smoking or family history of CVD.  Even less is known about interactions, if any, between race/ethnicity on long-term cardiovascular outcomes or mortality. To answer these questions, researchers analyzed data from over 400,000 women in South Carolina, who delivered a live, single baby between 2004-2016. They looked at how often these women had coronary heart disease, a stroke, or died, within 5 years of delivery.  Women were categorized into four groups: 1) those who had high blood pressure prior to pregnancy, 2) those who developed a HDP, 3) those who had both conditions, and 4) those who had neither.  Results support a link between pre-pregnancy high blood pressure or HDP, and CVD outcomes (coronary heart disease, stroke, or all-cause death) within 1, 3, and 5 years post-delivery, and at any time across the study period (up to 14 years).  Women who had a greater chance of dying within 5 years from any cause were non-Hispanic Black women with both conditions and HDP alone, non-Hispanic White women with both conditions, and Hispanic women with pre-existing high blood pressure alone. Applying these findings to clinical practice, public health efforts, and education programs could help improve the health of women by adding monitoring, early detection and treatment of cardiovascular risks beyond the typical 6-weeks postpartum appointment and before a subsequent pregnancy.


About Research Roundup

Each quarter, our team of researchers reviews the most current studies related to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and selects those studies they feel will be of greatest interest to our community to summarize.

Special thanks to our volunteer research team, who under the leadership of Dr. Elizabeth Sutton, make Research Roundup possible: Alisse Hauspurg, MD Felicia LeMoine, MD Jenny Sones, PhD, DVM, and Robin Trupp, PhD, RN.

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