Cardiovascular Diseases During Pregnancy

The evaluation of individuals with valvular heart disease who are or wish to become pregnant is a difficult issue. Issues that have to be addressed include the risks during pregnancy to the mother and the developing fetus by the presence of maternal valvular heart disease as an intercurrent disease in pregnancy. Normal physiological changes during pregnancy require, on average, a 50% increase in circulating blood volume that is accompanied by an increase in cardiac output that usually peaks between the mid portion of the second and third trimesters The increased cardiac output is due to an increase in the stroke volume, and a small increase in heart rate, averaging 10 to 20 beats per minute. Additionally uterine circulation and endogenous hormones cause systemic vascular resistance to decrease and a disproportionately lowering of diastolic blood pressure causes a wide pulse pressure. Inferior vena caval obstruction from a gravid uterus in the supine position can result in an abrupt decrease in cardiac preload, which leads to hypotension with weakness and lightheadedness. During labor and delivery cardiac output increases more in part due to the associated anxiety and pain, as well as due to uterine contractions which will cause an increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

  • Physiological changes during pregnancy and puerperium
  • Pregnancy and valvular heart disease
  • Pregnancy and congenital heart disease

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