All Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy Increase the Risk of Future Cardiovascular Disease

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Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are associated with vascular dysfunction in the pregnancy and an increased risk of long-term cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the mother. What remains to be understood is whether the length, severity of the disease, the treatment of hypertension in pregnancy, or the subtype of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are significant predictors of future CVD. We undertook a retrospective cohort study to review all women who gave birth at a tertiary hospital in Sydney between the years 1980 and 1989 (n=31 656). A cohort of women was further defined by having hypertension during the antenatal, intrapartum, or postnatal periods (n=4387). Randomly selected records of women (n=1158) with a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy were individually reviewed to collect data on their pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes. The entire cohort then underwent linkage analysis to future CVDs. Women who presented with gestational hypertension were at greater risk of future hypertension and ischemic heart disease compared with the women who were diagnosed with preeclampsia. There was no significant difference between the women who were treated with antihypertensive medication and the women who did not receive antihypertensive medication or the duration of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and future admission for CVD, although severity of hypertension tracked with increased risk of future hypertension in all groups. This study demonstrated that all women who present with any of the subtypes of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy are at significant risk of future CVD compared with women who remain normotensive during their pregnancy.

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