Objective: Epidemiological observations have shown that women with pre-eclampsia are at increased risk for subsequent development of cardiovascular disease. We evaluated maternal haemodynamics in asymptomatic women many years after pre-eclampsia and HELLP (haemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets) syndrome.
Design: Case-control study.
Setting: University-based department of obstetrics.
Population: Forty-eight women, 13-18 years after the affected pregnancy: 17 women with a history of HELLP syndrome, 14 women with a history of pre-eclampsia and 17 women following normal pregnancy (control group).
Methods: Echocardiographic examination was performed in all groups, recording the isovolumetric contraction time and isovolumetric relaxation time (ICT + IVRT), ejection time (ET), myocardial performance index (MPI), transmitral early to atrial filling velocity ratio (MV-E/MV-A), stroke volume (SV) and cardiac output (CO).
Main outcome measures: Cardiac function.
Results: Women with previous HELLP syndrome showed a significantly increased MPI (0.34 versus 0.26; P = 0.008) and ICT + IVRT (442.16 versus 415.03; P = 0.01); MV-E/A, SV, ET and CO were not significantly different. Women with a history of pre-eclampsia showed a significantly increased MPI (0.36 versus 0.26; P = 0.006) and decreased ET (317.3 versus 328.93; P = 0.04); ICT + IVRT, MV-E/A, SV and CO were not significantly different.
Conclusion: This study confirms epidemiological observations that women with pre-eclampsia are at increased risk for subsequent development of cardiovascular disease. Many years after HELLP syndrome or pre-eclampsia, asymptomatic women have an increased risk for impaired cardiac function as shown by an increased MPI.
© 2010 The Authors Journal compilation © RCOG 2010 BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.