Heart disease and pregnancy

This post relates to

2011 Queensland Maternal and Perinatal Quality Council, Review of Pregnancies, Births and Newborns in Queensland

This was a report released by the Queensland Government toward the end of last year. Had I been blogging then I would have posted hot off the press but in any case it remains most important. It’s a big doc but the Executive Summary on page 7, 8 and 9 is a a quick read.

Maternal health is excellent in Australia but as you can see from the report cardiovascular disease and mental health remain significant issues that account for the vast majority of indirect maternal mortality (see the report for definitions). The report doesn’t address the issue of cardiovascular morbidity which is considerable but does make some important, cardiac specific recommendations.

Including that

When pregnant women present with common symptoms such as chest pain, palpitations, syncope and shortness of breath, there should be a low threshold for considering significant cardiovascular disease and referral for specialist opinion and investigation within a clinically appropriate time frame,

and that,

In the event of sudden cardiac death, autopsy is essential and arrangements should be made for cardiac tissue to be examined by a pathologist with a specific interest in cardiac pathology where initial findings are negative. Pathologists and clinicians should be aware of the emerging role for molecular autopsy in cases of possible arrhythmic death. 

You can download the whole report or sections here

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