Pre-eclampsia is a potentially dangerous condition characterized by high blood pressure that arises in some pregnant women, but a review of published studies indicates that its effects on cardiovascular health can persist well after pregnancy.
The Australasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine analysis included 13 studies that measured cardiac function by transthoracic echocardiography between 6 months and 18 years following a pregnancy complicated by pre-eclampsia.
Studies are needed to determine whether long-term cardiovascular screening might benefit women with a history of pre-eclampsia.
"Pre-eclampsia is a real-life 'stress test' and the use of transthoracic echocardiography could help us detect early consequences on the heart before women experience symptoms," said co-author Archana Selvakumar Thayaparan, MbChb, of Western Health, in Australia.
Australasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine