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Cardiac Disease in Pregnancy

Arafeh, Julie M. R. MSN, RN; Baird, Suzanne McMurtry MSN, RN


Cardiac disease complicates approximately 1% to 3% of pregnancies and is responsible for 10% to 15% of maternal mortality. The number of women of childbearing age with congenital disease is increasing as advances in diagnosis and treatment improve survival rates and overall health, allowing successful pregnancy. Pregnant women with severe cardiac disease or women who experience a cardiac event during pregnancy will require admission and stabilization in an adult critical care unit. This group of patients can prove challenging for the obstetrical staff and the critical care staff because they require blending of the knowledge and skills of 2 highly specialized areas of healthcare. The key component to a comprehensive and organized approach to management that ensures the best possible outcome for the woman is a multidisciplinary team that devises a plan on the basis of the most current information, communicates with each other and the patient effectively, and assumes responsibility for implementation of the plan. The purpose of this article is to review management of the woman with cardiac disease throughout pregnancy.

Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif (Ms Arafeh); and the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nashville, Tenn (Ms Baird).

Corresponding author: Julie M. R. Arafeh, MSN, RN, Stanford University, 750 Welch Rd Suite 224, Palo Alto, CA 94304 (e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.