Long-term effects of multiple pregnancies on cardiac dimensions and systolic and diastolic function


      OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated whether the recurring volume loading and hormonal changes in multiple pregnancies might have some cumulative effect on heart size and function. STUDY DESIGN: Echocardiograms were performed on 20 healthy women with at least 4 (mean 5.2) term pregnancies; 20 healthy, age-matched, nulliparous women served as controls. RESULTS: There were no significant differences in chamber dimension, systolic or diastolic function, valvular incompetence, or heart rate between the groups. There was a small, but significant, prolongation in deceleration time of the E wave in the multiparous women. CONCLUSION: These findings show that the human heart is generally able to repeatedly adapt to multiple episodes of volume overload in pregnancy without lasting detrimental structural or functional changes. (AM J OBSTET GYNECOL 1996;174:1061-4.)


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