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J Am Heart Assoc. 2019 May 21;8(10):e011608. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.118.011608.

Incidence of Syncope During Pregnancy: Temporal Trends and Outcomes.

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1 Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta University of Calgary Alberta Canada.
2 Canadian VIGOUR Centre University of Alberta Edmonton Alberta Canada.
3 Department of Medicine and Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute University of Alberta Edmonton Alberta Canada.


Background We examined temporal trends, timing, and frequency, as well as adverse neonatal and maternal outcomes occurring in the first year postpartum among women experiencing syncope during pregnancy. Methods and Results This was a retrospective study of pregnancies between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2014, in the province of Alberta, Canada. Of 481 930 pregnancies, 4667 had an episode of syncope. Poisson regression analysis found a 5% increase/year (rate ratio, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.04-1.06) in the age-adjusted incidence of syncope. Overall, 1506 (32.3%) of the syncope episodes first occurred in the first trimester, 2058 (44.1%) in the second trimester, and 1103 (23.6%) in the third trimester; and 8% (n=377) of pregnancies had >1 episode of syncope. Compared with women without syncope, women who experienced syncope were younger (age <25 years; 34.7% versus 20.8%; P<0.001), and primiparous (52.1% versus 42.4%; P<0.001). The rate of preterm birth was higher in pregnancies with syncope during the first trimester (18.3%), compared with the second (15.8%) and third trimesters (14.2%) and pregnancies without syncope (15.0%; P<0.01). The incidence of congenital anomalies among children born of pregnancies with multiple syncope episodes was significantly higher (4.9%) compared with children of pregnancies without syncope (2.9%; P<0.01). Within 1 year after delivery, women with syncope during pregnancy had higher rates of cardiac arrhythmias and syncope episodes than women with no syncope during pregnancy. Conclusions Pregnant women with syncope, especially when the syncopal event occurs during the first trimester, may be at a higher risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes as well as an increased incidence of cardiac arrhythmia and syncope postpartum.


outcomes; pregnancy; syncope; trends

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