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A new cardiac risk factor

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2003 - Summer


Women with a history of pre-eclampsia are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, according to a study presented in February at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine annual meeting in San Francisco.

“Pre-eclampsia should be added to the list of risk factors for cardiovascular disease, possibly equal to issues such as obesity, smoking and diabetes,” said Edmund F. Funai, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the study’s lead author.

Pre-eclampsia, a progressive disease that occurs late in pregnancy and affects about 5 percent of women, can cause slower-than-normal fetal growth and put women at risk of lung, kidney and liver problems. High blood pressure is an early warning sign of pre-eclampsia. The study by researchers at Yale and in Israel tracked the death rates of 34,000 women who gave birth between 1964 and 1976.