The effect of pregestational diabetes on fetal heart function

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Abstract

Pregestational diabetes affects nearly 2% of all pregnancies. Moreover, Type 2 diabetes in child-bearing women is on the rise because of the childhood obesity epidemic. Pregestational diabetes can affect the fetal heart in several ways. First, the risk of fetal congenital heart disease is markedly increased; second, fetal hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may occur even with good glycemic control; third, studies have shown impaired function of the hearts of some infants and fetuses of diabetic pregnancies, which can occur with and without septal hypertrophy. Small-for-gestational-age infants of diabetic mothers may have diminished cardiovascular health in the long term. This review mainly discusses methods to detect fetal diabetic cardiomyopathy prenatally. The focus is on the noninvasive diagnostic markers that can serve as an outcome measure for future therapeutic trials, which are still lacking. There is some experimental research on treatment strategies to prevent fetal heart disease in diabetic pregnancies but little clinical data.

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