Peer Reviewed
Feature Article Cardiovascular medicine

Management of cardiac conditions in pregnancy

Joanne Judd

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.

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