Higher number of live births is associated with left ventricular diastolic dysfunction and adverse cardiac remodelling among US Hispanic/Latina women: results from the Echocardiographic Study of Latinos

Open Heart. 2017 May 8;4(1):e000530. doi: 10.1136/openhrt-2016-000530. eCollection 2017.


Introduction: Female sex is a risk factor for heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). Previous literature suggests that some diastolic dysfunction (DD) develops during pregnancy and may persist postdelivery. Our objective was to examine the relationship between parity and cardiac structure and function in a population-based cohort.

Methods: Participants included 1172 Hispanic/Latina women, aged ≥45 years, enrolled in the Echocardiographic Study of Latinos from four US communities (Bronx, Miami, San Diego and Chicago). Standard echocardiographic techniques were used to measure cardiac volumes, left ventricular mass, systolic and diastolic function. Using sampling weights and survey statistics, multivariable linear and logistic regression models were constructed adjusting for age, body mass index, diabetes or prediabetes, systolic blood pressure, use of antihypertensive medications, smoking, total cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Results: In the target population, 5.0% were nulliparous (no live births) and 10.5% were grand multiparous (≥5 live births). Among the nulliparous women, 46% had DD as compared with 51%-58% of women with 1-4 live births and 81% of women with ≥5 live births (p<0.01). In full multivariate models, higher parity was significantly associated with greater left ventricular end-systolic volumes, end-diastolic volumes, left atrial volume indices and presence of DD (all p<0.01) but was not associated with ejection fraction. The log odds for having any grade of DD in grand-multiparous women was over three times that seen in nulliparous women (OR=3.4, 95% CI 1.5 to 7.9, p<0.01) in models further adjusted for income and education.

Conclusions: Higher parity is associated with increased cardiac mass, volumes and the presence of DD. Further studies are needed to elucidate this apparent deleterious relation and whether parity can help explain the increased risk of HFpEF in women.

Keywords: diastolic Dysfunction by echo; heart failure with preserved ejection fraction; hispanic; parity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural