Women who develop high blood pressure during pregnancy are more likely to experience heart problems within a few years of giving birth, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2017, a premier global exchange of the latest advances in cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians.
Researchers from University of California San Francisco followed the time to hospitalization from heart failure (a condition when the heart can't pump well) and heart attack for nearly 1.6 million women in California. Women who experienced any form of pregnancy-related hypertension—gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, chronic hypertension and chronic hypertension combined with preeclampsia—were more frequently hospitalized for heart failure than women who did not experience high blood pressure during pregnancy. However, the likelihood of heart failure hospitalization depended on the patient's racial background: Black women had the lowest likelihood of heart failure hospitalization while Asian/Pacific Islander women had the highest. White and Hispanic/Latina women fell between the two groups.
Women who experienced gestational hypertension, preeclampsia and chronic hypertension were also more likely to be hospitalized for a heart attack, but unlike with heart failure, the likelihood of hospitalization for heart attack was not influenced by racial background. The analysis demonstrates that racial background influences risk of heart failure hospitalization but not hospitalization for heart attack in women with pregnancy-related hypertension.
Explore further: Heart's pumping function is not an indicator of heart failure survival rates