Hypertensive disorders of pregnant women with heart disease: the ESC EORP ROPAC Registry

Eur Heart J. 2022 Jun 21;ehac308. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehac308. Online ahead of print.


Aims: Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) occur in 10% of pregnancies in the general population, pre-eclampsia specifically in 3-5%. Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy may have a high prevalence in, and be poorly tolerated by, women with heart disease.

Methods and results: The prevalence and outcomes of HDP (chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension or pre-eclampsia) were assessed in the ESC EORP ROPAC (n = 5739), a worldwide prospective registry of pregnancies in women with heart disease.The overall prevalence of HDP was 10.3%, made up of chronic hypertension (5.9%), gestational hypertension (1.3%), and pre-eclampsia (3%), with significant differences between the types of underlying heart disease (P < 0.05). Pre-eclampsia rates were highest in women with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) (11.1%), cardiomyopathy (CMP) (7.1%), and ischaemic heart disease (IHD) (6.3%). Maternal mortality was 1.4 and 0.6% in women with vs. without HDP (P = 0.04), and even 3.5% in those with pre-eclampsia. All pre-eclampsia-related deaths were post-partum and 50% were due to heart failure. Heart failure occurred in 18.5 vs. 10.6% of women with vs. without HDP (P < 0.001) and in 29.1% of those with pre-eclampsia. Perinatal mortality was 3.1 vs. 1.7% in women with vs. without HDP (P = 0.019) and 4.7% in those with pre-eclampsia.

Conclusion: Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and pre-eclampsia rates were higher in women with CMP, IHD, and PAH than in the general population. Adverse outcomes were increased in women with HDP, and maternal mortality was strikingly high in women with pre-eclampsia. The combination of HDP and heart disease should prompt close surveillance in a multidisciplinary context and the diagnosis of pre-eclampsia requires hospital admission and continued monitoring during the post-partum period.

Keywords: Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy; Maternal morbidity; Maternal mortality; Pre-eclampsia; Pregnancy.