Prenatal Low-Dose Aspirin Use Associated with Reduced Incidence of Postpartum Hypertension among Women with Preeclampsia

Am J Perinatol. 2021 May 3. doi: 10.1055/s-0041-1728826. Online ahead of print.


Objective: Postpartum hypertension (PP-HTN), defined as systolic/diastolic blood pressure (SBP/DBP) ≥140/90, on two occasions at least 4 hours apart after delivery occurs in up to 50% of preeclamptic pregnancies, and is associated with adverse maternal outcomes. Excessive production of antiangiogenic factors (i.e., soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 [sFLT1]) and reduced levels of proangiogenic factors (i.e., placental growth factor [PlGF]) are associated with preeclamptic pregnancies. The aim of this study was to identify clinical risk factors and/or serum biomarkers associated with PP-HTN in preeclampsia.

Study design: Preeclamptic women (n = 82, aged ≥18 years) were prospectively enrolled in an observational study. Serial blood pressures were obtained through the labor course and until 48 hours postpartum, and serum was obtained within 24 hours postpartum. Statistical analysis was performed by using Student's two-tailed t-test and Fisher's exact test.

Results: Baseline comorbidities and antihypertensive use were similar among those who developed PP-HTN and those who did not. Among preeclamptic patients, 33% developed PP-HTN; these had significantly more severe preeclampsia features versus no PP-HTN (96 vs. 78%, p = 0.05). PP-HTN was associated with higher re-hospitalization rates (26 vs. 6%, p = 0.01). Among those taking low-dose aspirin (ASA) for preeclampsia prophylaxis (n = 12), PP-HTN was significantly less frequent versus those not taking low-dose ASA (0 vs. 22%, p = 0.007). Low-dose ASA use was associated with significantly lower peripartum sFLT1 levels (4,650 ± 2,335 vs. 7,870 ± 6,282 pg/mL, p = 0.03) and sFLT1/PlGF ratio (397 ± 196 vs. 1,527 ± 2,668, p = 0.03).

Conclusion: One-third of women with preeclampsia develop PP-HTN; these patients have more severe preeclampsia and have higher re-hospitalization rates. Prenatal low-dose ASA use was associated with significantly lower incidence of PP-HTN, reduced levels of antiangiogenic factors, and lower 6-week re-hospitalization rates. These findings, if replicated, may have clinical implications on the use of low-dose ASA during pregnancy to reduce incidence of postpartum HTN.

Key points: · Postpartum hypertension is common in preeclampsia.. · Prenatal aspirin may reduce postpartum hypertension.. · Prenatal aspirin may reduce sFLT1 levels..