Can pregnancy complications predict future cardiovascular disease risk?
According to a new study, women can accurately recall key pregnancy-related information at least 4 years later that could have important implications for their future risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). A simple and brief questionnaire developed and validated by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis, MO), Harvard School of Public Health, and Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston, MA) is a valuable new screening tool described in an article in Journal of Women's Health.
Ebony Boyce Carter, MD, MPH and coauthors assessed the accuracy of the responses to their questionnaire—provided by women who were, on average, more than 4 years postpartum—by comparing the answers to information in the women's medical histories. The pregnancy recall tool includes questions about infant birthweight and length of the pregnancy, and pregnancy-related complications such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and pregnancy-associated hypertension. The authors report which pregnancy events and information were more commonly recalled in the article "Pregnancy Complications as Markers for Subsequent Maternal Cardiovascular Disease: Validation of Maternal Recall Questionnaire."
In the Editorial "Pregnancy as a Window to Cardiovascular Disease Risk: How Will We Know?" Janet M. Catov, PhD, Magee-Womens Hospital (Pittsburgh, PA) says, "The reproductive years are an ideal time to assess pre-clinical CVD risk and launch strategies to prevent or delay onset of disease in women."
"This brief tool to gather information on pregnancy-related risk factors for future cardiovascular disease can help clinicians identify women at increased risk," says Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women's Health, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health (Richmond, VA), and President of the Academy of Women's Health.