Acute myocardial infarction during pregnancy and puerperium: a review

Angiology. 1996 Aug;47(8):739-56. doi: 10.1177/000331979604700801.


The purpose of this review is to analyze the possible parameters that lead to the development of what is a rare event--acute myocardial infarction (AMI) during pregnancy and puerperium. Through the Index Médicus, 109 publications on the subject were obtained. Since the first well-documented case by Katz in 1922, 136 patients have been reported, and from these reports the following data have been gathered: the average age was 32.1 years. This event is more frequent during the third trimester and puerperium of the first and second pregnancies. In 42.6% of the patients no coronary risk factors were observed, but when present, hypertension and cigarette smoking were the most common. The anterior wall along or in combination with any other anatomic area was affected in 73% of cases. Coronary angiograms, when taken, appeared normal in 47%. The maternal mortality rate was 26/136 (19.1%) and was higher during the third trimester, labor, and puerperium. Eight patients (8/26) (30.7%) had sudden death. In 5 of these, (62.5%) coronary thrombosis was found. In 18/26 deaths, an autopsy was performed; 9/18 (50%) had coronary thrombus formation and in 7/18 (39%) variable degrees of atherosclerosis were detected. On the other hand, the fetal mortality rate was 16.9%; however, in only 52% was death coincidental with that of the mother. Coronary artery spasm associated with a probable hypercoagulability state was the most likely mechanism in the majority of these patients, followed by atherosclerotic heart disease and coronary dissection-the last being secondary most likely to hormonal changes. During the AMI these patients should be studied by a medical team composed of a cardiologist, gynecologist, and anesthesiologist. A complete cardiologic work-up should be made to decide individually about further pregnancies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Angiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction* / therapy
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular* / therapy
  • Puerperal Disorders* / therapy
  • Risk Factors