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Hypertension. 2009 Jul;54(1):63-70. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.109.129098. Epub 2009 May 11.

Antihypertensive medication use during pregnancy and the risk of cardiovascular malformations.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University at Albany, Rensselaer, NY, USA. arc05@health.state.ny.us


We used data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, a population-based, case-control study, to examine whether previously reported associations between antihypertensive medications and cardiovascular malformations could be confirmed and to explore whether new associations might be identified. Cases (n=5021) were ascertained through birth defects surveillance systems from 1997 through 2003 in 10 US states. Controls (n=4796) were live births without birth defects selected randomly from birth certificates or hospital discharge listings in the same geographic regions. Logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between antihypertensive medication treatment and the occurrence of cardiovascular malformations while controlling for confounding variables. First-trimester treatment with antihypertensive medication was associated with pulmonary valve stenosis (odds ratio [OR]: 2.6; 95% CI: 1.3 to 5.4), Ebstein malformation (crude OR: 11.4; exact 95% CI: 2.8 to 34.1), coarctation of the aorta (OR: 3.0; 95% CI: 1.3 to 6.6), and secundum atrial septal defects (OR: 2.4; 95% CI: 1.3 to 4.4). Treatment initiated after the first trimester was associated with pulmonary valve stenosis (OR: 2.4; 95% CI: 1.1 to 5.4), perimembranous ventricular septal defects (OR: 2.3; 95% CI: 1.2 to 4.6), and secundum atrial septal defects (OR: 2.4; 95% CI: 1.3 to 4.4). Untreated hypertension was associated with Ebstein malformation (OR: 2.1; 95% CI: 1.0 to 4.3) and secundum atrial septal defects (OR: 1.3; 95% CI: 1.0 to 1.6). Antihypertensive medication use and/or the underlying hypertension might increase the risk of having an infant with specific left and right obstructive and septal defects. Additional studies with adequate power will be needed to confirm these findings.

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