Christina W CW Chen, Iris Z IZ Jaffe, S Ananth SA Karumanchi


Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women in all countries. A history of pre-eclampsia, one of the most deadly hypertensive complications of pregnancy, increases cardiovascular risk by two to four times, which is comparable with the risk induced by smoking. Substantial epidemiological data reveal that pregnancy-related hypertensive complications are associated with a predisposition to chronic hypertension, premature heart attacks, strokes, and renal complications. In this review, we summarize clinical studies that demonstrate this relationship and also discuss the pathogenesis of these long-term complications of pre-eclampsia. Future studies should focus on strategies to prevent the progression of cardiovascular disease in women exposed to pre-eclampsia, thereby improving long-term cardiovascular health in women.