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Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 1977 Aug;4(2):265-86.

Cardiac disorders.



Most cardiovascular problems in pregnant women arise from the complications of preexisting chronic conditions (e.g., rheumatic and congenital heart disease) and hypertensive vascular disease. Regular supervision of these patients is essential to detect incipient pulmonary congestion or disturbances of cardiac rhythm. Even if the pregnancy has been uncomplicated, hospital admission 1-4 weeks before the due date is recommended to ensure optimal conditions for labor. Vaginal delivery at term with adequate sedation and use of forceps to shorten the 2nd stage of labor is the perferred mode. Induction of labor may be indicated in hypertensive vascular disease or in cases where adjusting or discontinuing drug therapy calls for precise timing of delivery. Eisenmenger's disease and primary hypertension are potential medical indications for pregnancy termination. The distribution pattern of organic heart disease encountered in pregnant women has changed in the past 20 years, with a decrease in rheumatic and an increase in congenital heart disease. The incidence of chronic rheumatic heart disease in pregnant women fell from 3.5% of all deliveries at Newcastle General Hospital in 1942-51 to 1.1% in 1962-71. Acute pulmonary edema in mitral stenosis is currently a major risk during pregnancy. There is no optimal stage of pregnancy for valvotomy, nor evidence that this procedure induces miscarriage in the early weeks. Pregnancy has become less hazardous in severe forms of congenital heart disease as more patients with these disorders have undergone cardiac surgery prior to pregnancy. Pregnancy is not believed to have any effect on the longterm course of rheumatic heart disease. Patients with aortic stenosis, coarctation of the aorta, primary pulmonary hypertension, Fallot's tetralogy, Eisenmenger's syndrome, and surgically untreated cyanotic lesions require special attention during pregnancy. The outlook for women who become pregnant after an acute cardiac infarction episode depends on the functional state of the heart at the time of pregnancy and the presence or absence of angina pain. There has been a gradual decline in perinatal mortality, especially in cases complicated by rheumatic heart disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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