Managing the pregnant patient with heart disease

Clin Cardiol. 1990 Nov;13(11):757-62. doi: 10.1002/clc.4960131103.


Pregnancy and its associated hemodynamic challenge presents potential risks to the patient with cardiac disease, whether acquired or congenital. The hematologic changes which occur during pregnancy include alterations in blood volume, hematocrit, and blood viscosity. There are also alterations in cardiac output and regional blood flow patterns. These hemodynamic alterations are associated with signs and symptoms which can be impressive yet benign, or can suggest poor outcome, depending on the underlying cardiovascular disorder. The clinician is faced with the sometimes difficult task of differentiating the benign from the dangerous while making appropriate management decisions. In this article, diagnosis and current management of many of the more common acquired and congenital cardiac abnormalities are discussed as they pertain to the gravid female. The effects of common cardiovascular medications in pregnancy are also briefly reviewed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / therapy*