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Pre-eclampsia raises mortality risk ‘by 80%’

Women with one child who had pre-eclampsia during pregnancy should be targeted for special monitoring as they are are almost three-and-a-half times more likely to die from cardiovascular causes, conclude researchers.

The researchers looked at 836,147 Norwegian women with a first registered birth. Pre-eclampsia was defined as blood pressure over 140/90 mmHg after 20 weeks’ gestation.

They found one-child mothers with pre-eclampsia had a significant 80% increase in risk of total mortality, compared with women without pre-eclampsia. This association was not significant in women with pre-eclampsia who had more than one subsequent birth recorded.

Women with one child who had pre-eclampsia had a hazard ratio of 3.4 for cardiovascular causes – defined as coronary heart disease and stroke – compared with women without pre-eclampsia.

The risk increased significantly to just under nine-and-a-half times for affected women who had preterm pre-eclampsia, compared to women without.

Term pre-eclampsia was associated with a 50% increase in risk, while preterm saw just under two-and-a-half times, compared to women without pre-eclampsia.

The researchers concluded: ‘Rather than regard all women with pre-eclampsia as candidates for special monitoring, consideration should be given to one-child mothers, especially if their pre-eclampsia was preterm.’

BMJ 2012, available online 27 November


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