Heart failure (HF) remains the most common major cardiovascular complication arising in pregnancy and the postpartum period. Mothers who develop HF have been shown to experience an increased risk of death as well as a variety of adverse cardiac and obstetric outcomes. Recent studies have demonstrated that the risk to neonates is significant, with increased risks in perinatal morbidity and mortality, low Apgar scores, and prolonged neonatal intensive care unit stays. Information on the causal factors of HF can be used to predict risk and understand timing of onset, mortality, and morbidity. A variety of modifiable, nonmodifiable, and obstetric risk factors as well as comorbidities are known to increase a patient's likelihood of developing HF, and there are additional elements that are known to portend a poorer prognosis beyond the HF diagnosis. Multidisciplinary cardio-obstetric teams are becoming more prominent, and their existence will both benefit patients through direct care and increased awareness and educate clinicians and trainees on this patient population. Detection, access to care, insurance barriers to extended postpartum follow-up, and timely patient counseling are all areas where care for these women can be improved. Further data on maternal and fetal outcomes are necessary, with the formation of State Maternal Perinatal Quality Collaboratives paving the way for such advances.
Keywords: adverse neonatal outcomes; cardiomyopathy; heart failure; hypertensive disorders; pregnancy; pulmonary hypertension.