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Diabetologia. 2003 Feb;46(2):267-75. Epub 2003 Feb 14.

Alterations of left ventricular function in women with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus during pregnancy.

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Clinic of Cardiology, Pneumology and Angiology, Heinrich-Heine University, Moorenstrasse 5, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.



During pregnancy, eminent cardiovascular changes occur. The aim of the following study was to investigate the course of haemodynamic parameters under the increased volume load during pregnancy and delivery in women with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.


We examined 51 pregnant diabetic women and 51 healthy pregnant women. The control group consisted of 51 healthy non-pregnant women. In all women, left ventricular mass and fractional shortening were calculated. To evaluate left ventricular diastolic function, mitral inflow and pulmonary venous flow profiles were analysed.


During pregnancy left ventricular mass increased, fractional shortening decreased and diastolic dysfunction was found. While the healthy pregnant women developed signs of disturbed relaxation during pregnancy, pregnant diabetic women showed signs of a disturbed relaxation at the beginning of gestation. Of the pregnant diabetic women, 29 developed a restrictive filling pattern at the 24th week of gestation. The remaining 22 diabetic women had a comparable restrictive filling pattern only during vaginal delivery. In 10 of the 29 pregnant diabetic women dangerous complications were documented, while there were no complications in the healthy pregnant women and the other 22 diabetic pregnant women.


In healthy women pregnancy results in a reversible physiologic left ventricular hypertrophy, a disturbed relaxation pattern and a temporary decrease of left ventricular systolic function. In contrast, pregnant diabetic women showed a delayed relaxation at the beginning of pregnancy and developed a restrictive filling pattern. The early development of a restrictive filling pattern could indicate complications during delivery in pregnant diabetic women.

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