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Pregnancy Heart Failure - Medicine Essay Example

2 pages
481 words
Wesleyan University
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Heart failure can be defined as the inability of the heart to pump adequate blood to cater to the needs of the body (Chamaidi & Gatzoulis, 2006). The condition is characterized by swollen limbs, shortness of breath and fatigue. Women who are at the childbearing stage are at more risk of developing heart failure. The advanced maternal age, fertility, and imitation of the western lifestyle have seen a high increase occurrences of risk condition for heart failure(Chamaidi & Gatzoulis, 2006). According to (Anthony & Sliwa, 2015), Pregnancy heart failure can be caused by a breakdown of the ventricular, pulmonary hypertension, aortic arch disease among other causes. Genetic and social differences existing within specific communities do give rise to occurrences of ventricular failure as a result of peripartum cardiomyopathy observed in multicultural societies. Despite the fact that cardiac disease differs between different countries, it remains a crucial cause of maternal death in developing and developed communities with ventricular failure being the most mechanism of death (Anthony & Sliwa, 2015).Pre-eclampsia usually results in pulmonary oedema which together with cerebrovascular hemorrhage has been pointed out as the dominant cause of hypertensive maternal mortality. (Bowater, & Thome,2010)

Pregnancy and pre-eclampsia are normally associated with a hyperdynamic circulation and exert pressure on the left ventricular contractility (Chamaidi & Gatzoulis, 2006). Similarly, pulmonary hypertension and right heart failure are characterized by exertional dyspnoea with daily activities. This may be followed by indications of possible consistent with right heart failure commonly known as increased jugular venous pressure(JVP) (Bowater, & Thome,2010).

Anthony & Sliwa, 2015 suggested that Aortic Root can be affected by certain diseases that further may result in pregnancy heart failure. The conditions affecting the Aortic Root can be broadly categorized into medical disorders with a danger of dissection such Marfan's syndrome, inflammatory diseases of the aorta, normally Takayasu's arteritis and atherosclerotic disease. Marfan's and Takayasu's syndrome are the major aortic arch diseases that may be present during pregnancy.

Pregnancy heart failure can be managed or treated using various ways including but not limited to; Diuretics, Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors, Beta Blockers, Spironolactone, Bromocriptine.


Pregnancy heart failure is a high-risk condition that put women at risk of maternal death. Women suspecting to have such condition need to seek urgent assessment that would lead to appropriate management. This can be best achieved through a multidisciplinary approach where both expertise (cardiologists and obstetricians) need to work together to give professional counseling and care in preparation for safe motherhood.



Anthony, J.& Sliwa, K.(2016). Decompensated Heart Failure in Pregnancy. Cardiac Failure Review,1(2)6- 20.doi:10.15420/cfr.24.2

Bowater, S.E. & Thorne, S.A.(2010). Management of pregnancy in women with acquired and Congenital heart disease. Postgrad Med J 86(5-100)

Brar S.S, et al. (2007). Incidence, mortality, and racial differences in peripartum cardiomyopathy. Am J Cardiol Crossref | PubMed.100 (3024).

Chamadi,A.&Gatzoulis,M.A.(2006).Heart Diseases and Pregnancy.Hellenic J Cardiol. 47(225-291)


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