Coronary Events in the Pregnant Patient: Who Is at Risk and How Best to Manage?

Can J Cardiol. 2021 Dec;37(12):2026-2034. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2021.09.009. Epub 2021 Sep 14.


Coronary events in pregnancy are a rare but growing cause of maternal morbidity and mortality. Pregnancy presents unique challenges across a broad spectrum of disciplines and requires a multidisciplinary approach to optimise maternal and fetal outcomes. The early involvement of the "cardio-obstetrics" team in prepregnancy counselling, the antenatal period, delivery, and postpartum is vital to ensuring better outcomes for patients at high risk of coronary pathology. The overall risk for coronary events complicating pregnancy is increasing owing to a number of factors, including advancing maternal age and increases in traditional cardiac risk factors contributing to higher rates of maternal morbidity and mortality. The majority of pregnant women experiencing a coronary event do not have previous coronary disease, and the pathologic mechanisms involved are predominantly nonatherosclerotic. Diagnosis and management should follow standard guideline-based practices for acute coronary syndrome (ACS), including the use of diagnostic coronary angiography to guide percutaneous intervention when needed. Management of ACS should not be delayed to facilitate delivery, which can proceed following stent implantation and dual antiplatelet therapy. The timing and mode of delivery should be based on assessment of maternal and fetal status, but vaginal delivery is preferred when possible. This review aims to provide an overview of the major etiologies, risk factors, diagnoses, and management strategies for patients at risk of or presenting with coronary events in pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / therapy
  • Disease Management*
  • Female
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Morbidity
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / therapy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Risk Factors