The pregnant cardiac woman
Cardiac diseases are present in 0.5-4% of pregnancies, and they remain a frequent cause of death during pregnancy. Pregnancy per se imposes significant hemodynamic changes, placing a major burden on the cardiovascular system. The early recognition and close follow-up of patients with cardiac diseases will improve maternal tolerance to the cardiovascular burden imposed by pregnancy, promote fetal growth and neonatal survival. Rheumatic heart disease remains the most frequent heart disease in the pregnant population with pulmonary edema as the most frequent complication. Atrial septal defect is the most frequent congenital heart disease in the adult population, whereas tetralogy of Fallot is the most common cyanotic congenital heart disease. An improvement in modern techniques of monitoring, a better understanding of the pathophysiology of cardiac disease, as well as multidisciplinary care has led to a substantial improvement in outcome of the pregnant cardiac patient. Management should be initiated before conception as it will provide optimal clinical conditions and sufficient information on the underlying pathophysiology. © 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Ayoub, CM; Jalbout, MI; Baraka, AS
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