Although its prevalence is relatively low in pregnant women, heart disease is the most important cause of maternal mortality. Problems may arise due to hemodynamic burden and the hypercoagulable state of pregnancy. Heart disease may be congenital or acquired. In developed countries, the former composes the biggest part of women with heart disease. Patients with unrepaired lesions, cyanotic lesions, diminished systemic ventricular function, complex congenital heart disease, left ventricular outflow tract obstruction, pulmonary hypertension, or mechanical valves are at highest risk of developing complications during pregnancy. All patients with known cardiac disease should preferably be counseled before conception. Pre-pregnancy evaluation should include risk assessment for the mother and fetus, including medication use and information on heredity of the cardiac lesion. Management of pregnancy and delivery should be planned accordingly on individual bases. The types of complications are related to the cardiac diagnosis, with arrhythmias and heart failure being most common. Treatment options should be discussed with the future parents, as they may affect both mother and child. In general, the preferred route of delivery is vaginal. The optimal care for pregnant women with heart disease requires multidisciplinary involvement and is best concentrated in tertiary centers.
Copyright © 2012 Japanese College of Cardiology. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.