Is pre-eclampsia a risk factor for later cardiovascular disease?

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Experts call for improved monitoring of patients who experienced pre-eclampisa in pregnancy.

Women who experience pre-eclampsia during pregnancy are four-times more likely to have heart failure in later life and have a two-fold increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and death due to cardiovascular disease.

The findings from an analysis of 22 studies have been published in the Go Red for Women Spotlight collection from  Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes .

The risk of heart failure is highest during the first 10 years post-partum in a pregnancy affected by pre-eclampsia, according to Dr Pensee Wu, first author of the publication and lecturer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Keele University in the UK. For this reason, Dr Wu said it is important that women are regularly monitored during this period for cardiovascular risk factors. Patients should be counselled about risk and lifestyle modifications to reduce risk, the authors said.

The risk begins to increase for coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke within one year of giving birth, but is highest between one and 10 years after giving birth.

Last year a study by Dr Wu identified a link between pre-eclampsia and the development of diabetes in later life.

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