Valvular heart disease is common in pregnancy. Maternal physiology changes significantly during gestation with substantial increases in cardiac output and blood volume; this can cause unmasking or worsening of cardiac disease. Acquired valvular lesions most frequently arise from rheumatic fever, especially in patients who have emigrated from developing nations. Congenital lesions are also encountered. The most common conditions seen, mitral stenosis and regurgitation and aortic stenosis and regurgitation, each require a specific evaluation and management and are associated with their own set of possible complications. Patients with prosthetic valves require anticoagulation, and maternal and fetal risks and benefits must be carefully weighed. Patients with heart disease should be meticulously managed preconceptionally up to the postpartum period by maternal-fetal medicine specialists, obstetricians, cardiologists, and anesthesiologists using a multi-disciplinary approach to their cardiac conditions.
Obstetricians & Gynecologists and Family Physicians
After the completing the CME activity, physicians should be better able to examine the epidemiology of valvular heart disease in pregnancy, categorize key physiologic parameters that change in the cardiovascular system during pregnancy, classify the pathophysiology of valvular lesions, and evaluate the general principles of maternal and fetal management for cardiac disease.
*Fellow, Department of Reproductive Medicine, Division of Perinatology, University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA; †Professor, §Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC; and ‡Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Division of Cardiology, Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC
Chief Editor's Note: This article is part of a series of continuing education activities in this Journal through which a total of 36 AMA/PRA Category 1 Credits™ can be earned in 2011. Instructions for how CME credits can be earned appear on the last page of the Table of Contents.
The authors, faculty and staff in a position to control the content of this CME activity and their spouses/life partners (if any) have disclosed that they have no financial relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial organizations pertaining to this educational activity.
Correspondence requests to: Hilary A. Roeder, MD, UC San Diego Health System, 200 W Arbor Drive-MC-8433, San Diego, CA 92103. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.