A shocking discovery was revealed in a study conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago that women are at a higher risk of heart failure within six weeks after delivery. The findings of the study were published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.
Heart failure is one of the major reasons for maternal death in the US. In fact, the rate of pregnancy-related deaths has doubled between 1987 and 2011.
The study revealed that young reproductive females are more vulnerable to heart failure postpartum period and presence of additional disease or condition such as hypertension adds to the situation, said Mulubrhan Mogos, lead author and assistant professor of nursing at UIC.
“This finding lends support to using delivery related hospitalization as a window of opportunity to identify high-risk women and develop surveillance strategies before discharge “, said Mogos.
Only less than 2% of all pregnancy-related hospitalization was found to occur during the postpartum period in the study and nearly 60% of pregnancy-related heart failure hospitalizations took place at the same time.
According to the study conducted by Mogos and his colleagues, it is very important to monitor women with high risk before discharging them from the hospital after giving birth and through their postpartum period. Usually after giving birth women is discharged after two or three days and no evaluation is done until six weeks.
The study analyzed that there was more than 50 million pregnancy-related hospitalization in the US from 2001 to 2006 and there was 7.1% increase in heart failure diagnosis postpartum every year until 2011 when the rate stabilized.
Researchers have found that, heart failure rates during antepartum period, or prior to delivery, increased by an average of 4.9 percent per year from 2001 to 2011, which may be attributed by high blood pressure, diabetes or other risk factors or conditions the women had before conceiving, as well as improved testing to detect heart failure .
Mother at risk require close observation postpartum, from a multidisciplinary team including a cardiologist, concluded Mogos and his co-authors.
Mogos said,” health education about expectations and their risk status during delivery-related hospitalization may empower women to seek immediate support from social network and healthcare provider”.