Heart Failure in Pregnant Women: A Concern Across the Pregnancy Continuum

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Heart failure (HF) is a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality in the United States, but prevalence, correlates, and outcomes of HF-related hospitalization during antepartum, delivery, and postpartum periods remain unknown. The objective was to examine HF prevalence, correlates, and outcomes among pregnancy-related hospitalizations among women 13 to 49 years of age.

Methods and Results:

We used the 2001 to 2011 Nationwide Inpatient Sample. Rates of HF were calculated by patient and hospital characteristics. Survey logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted odds ratios representing the association between HF and each outcome, stratified by antepartum, delivery, and postpartum periods. Joinpoint regression was used to describe temporal trends in HF and in-hospital mortality. Over 50 million pregnancy-related hospitalizations were analyzed. The overall rate of HF was 112 cases per 100 000 pregnancy-related hospitalizations. Although postpartum encounters represented only 1.5% of pregnancy-related hospitalizations, ≈60% of HF cases occurred postpartum, followed by delivery (27.3%) and antepartum (13.2%). Among postpartum hospitalizations, there was a significant 7.1% (95% confidence interval, 4.4–9.8) annual increase in HF from 2001 to 2006, followed by a steady rate through 2011. HF rates among antepartum hospitalizations increased on average 4.9% (95% confidence interval, 3.0–6.8) annually from 2001 to 2011. Women with a diagnosis of HF were more likely to experience adverse maternal outcomes, as reflected by outcome-specific adjusted odds ratios during antepartum (2.7–25), delivery (6–195), and postpartum (1.5–6.6) periods.


HF is associated with increased risk of maternal mortality and morbidities. During hospitalization, high-risk mothers need to be identified and surveillance programs developed before discharge.

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