Fertility therapy failure may be a cardiovascular risk factor

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The authors of a new study say women with a history of failed fertility therapy merit surveillance for subsequent cardiovascular events.

It has previously been hypothesised that fertility therapy may represent an early indication for future cardiovascular disease, but little is known about potential long-term cardiovascular events following fertility therapy. A new study has now identified an association between failed fertility therapy and increased risk of later cardiovascular (CV) events.

The study looked at data on 28,442 women under age 50 who underwent fertility therapy between 1993 and 2011. It found the annual rate of CV events was 19 per cent higher among women who did not give birth after fertility therapy than among those who did. The largest relative increases were for heart failure and cerebrovascular events. Writing in  CMAJ  (Canadian Medical Association Journal) the authors said the increased risk was particularly high among women with a prior miscarriage. The absolute risk was modest and the relative risk was mostly confined to the first five years following fertility therapy.

The authors concluded that a potential increase in cardiovascular events may become increasingly relevant with broader utilisation of fertility therapy and longer follow-up. They added that a “more informed decision-making around reproductive technology requires an awareness of potential risks and the need for continued long-term clinical care.”

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