First-Time Pregnancy Complications Linked to Increased Risk of Hypertension as Soon as Three Years Post-Partum
Pregnancy history, prevention strategies may hold a key to improving longer-term health outcomes
Women who experience complications such as preterm births and preeclampsia during their first pregnancy are nearly twice more likely than women without complications to develop high blood pressure later in life — some as quickly as three years later, according to a recent study.
The researchers found that 31% of the women with at least one adverse outcome during their first pregnancy experienced chronic hypertension, while only 17% of those who did not experience complications developed this condition. The risk of developing chronic hypertension grows even higher with additional adverse outcomes.
Brian Mercer, MD, Chair, Obstetrics & Gynecology, The MetroHealth System, is the Principal Investigator for the MetroHealth site, and MetroHealth patients are participants in the study.
Researchers say their findings underscore the need for doctors to focus more aggressively on knowing the health histories of women — both during their pregnancies to help prevent adverse outcomes, and afterwards to flag their risks for future cardiovascular events. Dr. Mercer says “We want physicians to know that if their patients had any complication during pregnancy, their routine health care needs to include monitoring blood pressure, weight and cholesterol.”
The study of more than 4,000 women, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, was funded largely by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The MetroHealth System, Cuyahoga County’s public health system, is honoring its commitment to create a healthier community by building a new hospital on its main campus in Cleveland. The building and the 25 acres of green space around it are catalyzing the revitalization of MetroHealth’s West Side neighborhood.
MetroHealth broke ground on its new hospital in 2019. The project is being financed with nearly $1 billion the system borrowed on its own credit after dramatically improving its finances. In the past five years, MetroHealth’s operating revenue has increased by 40% and its number of employees by 21%. Today, its staff of nearly 8,000 provides care at MetroHealth’s four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. In the past year, MetroHealth has served 300,000 patients at more than 1.4 million visits in its hospitals and health centers, 75% of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
The health system is home to Cuyahoga County’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and Ohio’s only adult and pediatric trauma and burn center.
As an academic medical center, MetroHealth is committed to teaching and research. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses a Cleveland Metropolitan School District high school of science and health.
For more information, visit metrohealth.org.