In the present review the world literature on pregnancy complicated by myocardial infarction is summarized, and two additional cases are presented. It is apparent that the majority of pregnant women who have died after myocardial infarction did so at the time of inital infarction, and maternal mortality was greatest if the infarction was late in pregnancy. Moreover, delivery within two weeks of infarction was associated with increased mortality as was reinfarction during labor. These results suggest that the increasing cardiovascular stresses of late pregnancy, especially when intensified by parturition, seriously compromise women with ischemic heart disease. Efforts should therefore be made to limit myocardial oxygen demand/consumption throughout pregnancy, and particularly during parturition. Although principles of management can be generalized, these high risk patients require individualization of care by a multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, anesthesiologists, and obstetricians.
© 1985 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists