JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Severe cardiac disease in pregnancy, part II: impact of congenital and acquired cardiac diseases during pregnancy

Walther N K A van Mook, Louis Peeters
Current Opinion in Critical Care 2005, 11 (5): 435-48
16175030

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Part II of this review gives an overview of the different maternal cardiac problems during pregnancy and their management, and developments over recent years.

RECENT FINDINGS: Many studies published over the last 5 years provided new insights on different cardiac diseases in pregnancy. Publications discussed in this part of the review on cardiac disease in pregnancy, for example, provide epidemiological data on heart disease during pregnancy in general, and cardiomyopathy and ischemic heart disease in particular. In addition, we discussed the implications of a history of peripartum cardiomyopathy for a subsequent pregnancy, interventional strategies during pregnancy in women with ischemic heart disease, and the role of echocardiography in the evaluation of cardiac disease in pregnancy.

SUMMARY: The prevalence of the different causes of heart disease has shifted towards congenital heart disease by the end of the millennium. In developing countries, relatively rare diseases like rheumatic fever are still common, so these diseases are increasingly 'exported' to developed countries. The group of women with congenital heart disease represents most women with heart disease during pregnancy, followed by rheumatic heart disease. With the exception of patients with Eisenmenger's syndrome, pulmonary vascular obstructive disease, and Marfan's syndrome with aortopathy, maternal death during pregnancy is rare in women with heart disease. Although the risk for mortality is low in pregnant women with preexistent cardiac disease, these women are at increased risk for serious morbidity such as heart failure, arrhythmias, and stroke.

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