Indexed on: 22 Feb '11Published on: 22 Feb '11Published in: Hypertension in pregnancy
Preeclampsia, a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy, affects 5-8% of women. Large studies demonstrate a strong association between preeclampsia and future cardiovascular disease (CVD). Despite CVD being the leading cause of mortality for women, there has been little education for internal medicine physicians or obstetrician-gynecologists (ob-gyns) about this association; published guidelines do not include preeclampsia as a risk factor for future CVD. Therefore, women with a history of preeclampsia may not receive adequate risk-reduction counseling for CVD. It is unclear whether primary care physicians are aware of the association; thus, we sought to determine whether primary care providers at our institution were aware of preeclampsia's association with future CVD and whether they were providing appropriate counseling.An anonymous online survey was sent to all internists and (ob-gyns) at our hospital.Although most internists (95%) and (ob-gyns) (70%) provide routine cardiovascular risk-reduction counseling, a substantial proportion of them were unaware of any health risk associated with a history of preeclampsia. Many internists were unsure or did not know whether preeclampsia is associated with ischemic heart disease (56%), stroke (48%), and decreased life expectancy (79%). The corresponding proportions for (ob-gyns) were 23, 38, and 77%, respectively. Only 9% of internists and 38% of obstetrician-gynecologists were providing cardiovascular risk-reduction counseling to women with a history of preeclampsia.There is limited knowledge of the association between preeclampsia and future CVD; this deficiency may limit the application of this risk factor to clinical care.