Introduction: Women with preeclampsia are more likely to have abnormal echocardiographic parameters at the time of diagnosis and are more likely to have hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD) later in life. Screening for future CVD in preeclamptic women would assist in appropriately risk stratifying and identifying high risk women for preventive management; however, the timing of screening and the screening factors are unknown. Objective: The objectives of this project are to 1) assess incidence of essential hypertension 4 years after pregnancy in preeclampsia with severe features (PEC) 2) identify predictive echocardiographic variables at the time of PEC diagnosis and 3) assess the rate of echocardiographic abnormalities 4 years after developing PEC. Study Design: This is a prospective longitudinal study observing the incidence of essential hypertension in women within 4 years of a pregnancy complicated by PEC. We further looked at echocardiographic variables at the time of PEC diagnosis and at 4 years after PEC pregnancy in women with and without subsequent incident essential hypertension. The primary outcome measure is the incidence of essential hypertension within 4 years of PEC pregnancy, defined as a systolic blood pressure ≥ 130 mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure ≥ 80 mmHg. Secondary imaging outcomes include the persistence of abnormal echocardiographic parameters. Clinical secondary outcomes are new diagnoses of severe CVD, including coronary artery disease, stroke, arrhythmia, heart failure, or inpatient hospital admission for CVD. Results: Of the 33 enrolled women with PEC, 48% (16/33) developed incident essential hypertension within 4 years of delivery. These women had thicker left ventricular posterior walls on their initial antenatal echocardiogram when compared to the 52% (17/33) who did not develop hypertension (1.0 cm [0.9–1.1 cm] vs 0.9 cm [0.7–0.9 cm]. p < 0.016). However, these abnormal echocardiographic variables resolved in the 16 women who underwent 4-year follow-up echocardiography. Conclusion: Women who develop PEC have a high incidence of essential hypertension within 4 years of delivery. The group who develops essential hypertension are more likely to have evidence of adverse cardiac remodeling at the time of PEC diagnosis; however, neither group have cardiac echocardiographic abnormalities 4 years postpartum. Because this is a small study, larger long-term cohort studies are needed to confirm these echocardiographic and clinical findings.
- Hypertension cardiovascular disease risk
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynecology