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Pregnancy Hypertens. 2013 Apr 1;3(2):140-145.

Prepregnancy Vascular Dysfunction in Women who Subsequently Develop Hypertension During Pregnancy.

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Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, 89 Beaumont Ave, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, United States, 05405.



To evaluate vascular dysfunction using both physiologic measures and biochemical markers, longitudinally, prior to and during pregnancy, in nulliparous women who had uncomplicated pregnancies compared to those who developed complicated hypertension during pregnancy.


Twenty healthy nulliparous women were studied during the follicular phase and in early (EP) and late (LP) pregnancy. All had singleton conceptions and delivered at term, seventeen with uncomplicated pregnancies (NP) and three who developed complicated hypertension (HP) after the LP evaluation. We compared prepregnancy, EP and LP pulse wave velocity (PWV) and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule (sVCAM-1) between the NP and HP groups. PWV was measured using ultrasound and simultaneous echocardiogram tracing then calculated as the estimated distance divided by interval between EKG r-wave peak and peak brachial artery flow. SVCAM-1 was measured using a commercially available kit. Data are means ± SE, significance accepted as p < 0.05.


The NP group had significantly lower prepregnant PWV (NP: 2.66 ± 0.06 m/s, HP: 3.00 ± 0.04, p=.02), but PWV was not different at the EP or LP time points. SVCAM-1 was significantly lower prior to pregnancy and during EP and LP in the NP group (Prepregnancy: NP: 712 ± 32 ng/mL, HP: 1058 ± 107, p < .001; EP: NP: 695 ± 31 ng/mL, HP: 924 ± 52, p = .004; LP: NP: 663 ± 25 ng/mL, HP: 946 ± 36, p < .001).


PWV and sVCAM-1 may be important prepregnancy discriminators useful in assessing risk for preeclampsia prior to pregnancy.


arterial stiffness; endothelial dysfunction; hypertension; preeclampsia; pregnancy

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