Cardiovascular sequelae of preeclampsia/eclampsia: a systematic review and meta-analyses

Am Heart J. 2008 Nov;156(5):918-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2008.06.042. Epub 2008 Oct 2.


Background: Preeclampsia affects 3% to 5% of gestations and eclampsia 0.05% to 0.93%, but their subsequent cardiovascular sequelae are unclear. The aim of this study was to determine if women with a history of preeclampsia/eclampsia are at increased risk of long-term cardiovascular sequelae.

Methods: From Medline and Embase searches, we included case-control and cohort studies that examined cardiac, cerebrovascular or peripheral arterial disease, or cardiovascular mortality>6 weeks postpartum, in women with and without a history of preeclampsia/eclampsia and that controlled for or matched for confounders. Two independent reviewers determined study eligibility and extracted data.

Results: Five case-control and 10 cohort studies met eligibility criteria, with a total of 116,175 women with and 2,259,576 women without preeclampsia/eclampsia. Most studies focused on women<56 years of age. Relative to women with uncomplicated pregnancies, women with a history of preeclampsia/eclampsia had an increased risk of subsequent cardiac disease in both the case-control studies (odds ratio 2.47, 95% CI 1.22-5.01) and the cohort studies (relative risk [RR] 2.33, 1.95-2.78), as well as an increased risk of cerebrovascular disease (RR 2.03, 1.54-2.67), peripheral arterial disease (RR 1.87, 0.94-3.73), and cardiovascular mortality (RR 2.29, 1.73-3.04). Meta-regression revealed a graded relationship between the severity of preeclampsia/eclampsia and the risk of cardiac disease (mild: RR 2.00, 1.83-2.19, moderate: RR 2.99, 2.51-3.58, severe: RR 5.36, 3.96-7.27, P<.0001).

Conclusions: Women with a history of preeclampsia/eclampsia have approximately double the risk of early cardiac, cerebrovascular, and peripheral arterial disease, and cardiovascular mortality. Further research is needed to determine the mechanisms underlying these associations and to identify effective prevention strategies.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Eclampsia*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pre-Eclampsia*
  • Pregnancy