Open Access
Feature Article

Management of cardiac conditions in pregnancy

Joanne Judd
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Cardiac disease is the most common cause of death during pregnancy. Women at increased risk require early identification and referral for expert multidisciplinary management in a tertiary centre. Three cases illustrate presentations of pre-existing and acquired cardiac disease that should not be missed and their management.

Key Points

  • Cardiac disease is the leading cause of death in pregnant women.
  • Counselling and assessing women with cardiac disease (preferably before pregnancy) reduces their risk and improves maternal and fetal outcomes.
  • Chest pain or progressive dyspnoea in pregnancy must always be investigated, as these symptoms may be the first presentation of underlying cardiovascular disease.
  • A multidisciplinary approach in a tertiary centre is important for management of women with significant cardiovascular disease.

    Picture credit: © Sharon and Joel Harris/Articulate Graphics