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Cardiovasc J Afr. 2008 May-Jun;19(3):145-51.

Cardiac disease in pregnancy.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.


This study was a retrospective review of patient charts of a relatively large number of patients with cardiac disease in pregnancy in a developing country. Ninety-five patients were evaluated; the majority (n = 36) were in the age group 21-25 years. Rheumatic heart disease was the commonest aetiology; eight women required balloon mitral valvuloplasty and one had a valve replacement at 32 weeks' gestation. There were no maternal deaths but morbidity was high; 13 patients were admitted in cardiac failure, nine had atrial fibrillation and three required intensive-care management. There were 86 live births of the 97 deliveries. Cardiac disease in pregnancy is associated with high maternal morbidity and adverse foetal outcomes; this was related to late presentation and problems with anticoagulation. Clinical assessment remains a key factor in timeous referral and appropriate investigations.

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