Acquired heart disease

Linzi Peacock and Rachel Hignett

in Oxford Textbook of Obstetric Anaesthesia

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print September 2016 | ISBN: 9780198713333
Published online October 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191819759 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbook in Anaesthesia

Acquired heart disease

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Heart disease in pregnancy is a leading cause of maternal death worldwide. In the United Kingdom and United States, heart disease in pregnancy is the commonest cause of maternal death. In Europe, over 1% of maternal deaths are attributable to structural heart disease. In addition, heart disease in pregnancy is a significant cause of severe maternal and fetal morbidity. Whilst the vast majority of women with heart disease in pregnancy have underlying congenital heart disease, most maternal deaths are due to acquired heart disease (AHD). As the risk factors for AHD become ever more prevalent, the expectation is that disease burden from AHD in pregnancy will also increase. Women with AHD benefit from preconception or early assessment in pregnancy by a multidisciplinary team including obstetricians, cardiologists, and obstetric anaesthetists. Risk assessment using the modified World Health Organization classification of cardiac disease in pregnancy will inform frequency of review in pregnancy. A detailed plan for delivery should be agreed in the third trimester. Where possible, a vaginal delivery is advised: caesarean delivery is reserved for women with obstetric indications or with specific severe underlying cardiac conditions. Slow incremental epidural analgesia is usually recommended to reduce the cardiorespiratory work of labour and an assisted second-stage delivery will limit exertion due to pushing. Neuraxial anaesthesia for operative delivery is becoming a more familiar approach and techniques such as low-dose spinal component combined spinal–epidural or slow incremental epidural top-up maximize haemodynamic stability. Invasive monitoring is often beneficial. Post-delivery care is safely delivered in a high dependency or intensive therapy setting. This chapter looks at the general principles of management of women with AHD, and then examines in detail ischaemic heart disease, arrhythmias, cardiac transplantation, aortic pathology and aortic dissection, cardiomyopathy, valvular heart disease, and infective endocarditis.

Chapter.  16100 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anaesthetics ; Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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