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Cardiovascular Implications of Preeclampsia

Burgess, Adriane MSN, RNC-OB, CCE; Founds, Sandra CNM, FNP, PhD

MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: January/February 2016 - Volume 41 - Issue 1 - p 8–15
doi: 10.1097/NMC.0000000000000204
Feature: CE Connection

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death of women in the United States. Many healthcare providers are unaware of sex-specific factors that affect the development of CVD. Nursing care for women with a history of preeclampsia and their children is presented. Preeclampsia affects 4% to 8% of all pregnancies. Rates have increased by 25% over the past 2 decades. Research supports the link between preeclampsia and risk of future CVD in women and the children of affected pregnancies. Appropriate preconception, prenatal and postpartum education, and surveillance are necessary to improve the long-term health of both mother and infant. Currently, there are no evidence-based interventions specific to the prevention of CVD for women and their children who have been affected by preeclampsia. However, women who have had preeclampsia may require yearly risk factor assessment and education regarding cardiovascular prevention strategies such as smoking cessation, increased physical activity, importance of a healthy diet, and maintenance of a healthy weight. Preeclampsia should be acknowledged by healthcare providers as a CVD risk factor. Appropriate monitoring, education, and CVD preventive strategies need to be implemented with this population and their children.

Women who develop preeclampsia during pregnancy are at risk for cardiovascular disease later in life.

Adriane Burgess was an Assistant Professor of Nursing Notre Dame of Maryland University, University Academic Building, Baltimore, MD. She is now an Instructor of Nursing, Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg campus, Middletown, PA. The author can be reached via e-mail at

Sandra Founds is an Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Magee-Womens Research Institute, Pittsburgh, PA.

No funding was received for this article nor have there been any significant non-author contributions to this work. The authors have no conflict of interest to report.

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