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Preeclampsia Emerging as a Novel Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease in the Offspring

[ Vol. 16 , Issue. 3 ]


Ageliki A. Karatza* and Gabriel Dimitriou   Pages 194 - 199 ( 6 )


Introduction: Preeclampsia is a pregnancy specific disorder which affects 2%-8% of all gestations and is associated with high maternal, fetal and neonatal morbidity and mortality worldwide. There is no “cure” for the disease except for early delivery of the fetus and placenta, however leaving preeclampsia a long term health risk both for mothers and infants.

Aim: The aim of the study is to review currently available information linking preclampsia to longterm cardiovascular complications in infants and children.

Results: Currently, there is evidence of predisposition to cardiovascular disease, and a higher incidence of cardiovascular risk factors among children born to preeclamptic mothers. Both in experimental models and human epidemiological studies it is now clear that the infants of pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure and double the risk of stroke in later life. Preeclampsia is consistently associated with higher blood pressure and body mass index as early as 4–10 years of age. Also there is some evidence of higher cardiovascular risk in adults exposed to maternal hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. It seems that preeclampsia has an impact on the cardiovascular system independent of preterm birth and is associated with endothelial dysfunction, increased carotid intima media thickness and reductions in cardiac function that cannot be accounted for by prematurity alone.

Conclusion: Taking into consideration the currently available evidence, it can now be suggested that preeclampsia is linked to adverse effects on the cardiometabolic health of the infant. Understanding the relationship between preeclampsia and cardiovascular disease will allow for implementation of early interventions to prevent or delay the onset of adverse events in this high risk population.


Preeclampsia, offspring, cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, prevention, cardiovascular risk factors.


Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Department of Paediatrics, University of Patras Medical School, 26504, Patras, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Department of Paediatrics, University of Patras Medical School, 26504, Patras

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