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Circulation. 2010 Nov 2;122(18):1846-53. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.948455. Epub 2010 Oct 18.

Vascular dysfunction in women with a history of preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction: insights into future vascular risk.

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1
Department of Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center A139, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Women with a history of placental disease are at increased risk for the future development of vascular disease. It is unknown whether preexisting endothelial dysfunction underlies both the predisposition to placental disease and the later development of vascular disease. The aim of this study was to assess vascular function in postpartum women and to determine whether differences emerged depending on the presentation of placental disease.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Women with a history of early-onset preeclampsia (n=15), late-onset preeclampsia (n=9), intrauterine growth restriction without preeclampsia (n=9), and prior normal pregnancy (n=16) were studied 6 to 24 months postpartum. Flow-mediated vasodilatation and flow-independent (glyceryl trinitrate-induced) vasodilatation were studied through the use of high-resolution vascular ultrasound examination of the brachial artery. Arterial stiffness was assessed by pulse-wave analysis (augmentation index). Laboratory assessment included circulating angiogenic factors (vascular endothelial growth factor, soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1, placental growth factor, and soluble endoglin). Flow-mediated vasodilatation was significantly reduced in women with previous early-onset preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction compared with women with previous late-onset preeclampsia and control subjects (3.2±2.7% and 2.1±1.2% versus 7.9±3.8% and 9.1±3.5%, respectively; P<0.0001). Flow-independent vasodilatation was similar among all groups. Similarly, the radial augmentation index was significantly increased among women with previous early-onset preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction, but not among late preeclamptic women and control subjects (P=0.0105). Circulating angiogenic factors were similar in all groups.

CONCLUSION:

Only women with a history of early-onset preeclampsia or intrauterine growth restriction without preeclampsia exhibit impaired vascular function, which might explain their predisposition to placental disease and their higher risk of future vascular disease.

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