CardioNerds (Amit Goyal), Dr. Natalie Stokes (Cardiology Fellow at UPMC and Co-Chair of the Cardionerds Cardio-Ob series), and episode lead Dr. Priya Freaney (Northwestern University cardiology fellow) discuss “The Fourth Trimester” with Dr. Malamo Countouris and Dr. Alisse Hauspurg, from the University of Pittsburgh Departments of Cardiology and Obstetrics and Gynecology, respectively. We discuss the cardiovascular considerations after adverse pregnancy outcomes in the postpartum and long-term follow-up periods. The discussion is focused mainly on hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP), guided by a series of clinical vignettes. We cover a wide range of topics from cardiovascular complications and management considerations in the immediate postpartum period after a HDP, postpartum outpatient follow-up, long term cardiovascular morbidity related to HDP and related preventive strategies, contraceptive considerations for the cardiologist, and interdisciplinary care management pearls for cardiologists working in a cardio-obstetrics team.
Pearls – The Fourth Trimester
* Blood pressures >160/110 should be treated like a true emergency during pregnancy and the postpartum period, as the cerebrovascular circulation is more sensitive to hypertension, due to hormonal changes related to pregnancy.* Women with pre-eclampsia are at higher risk for peripartum cardiomyopathy. Have a low threshold to do a clinical heart failure evaluation (i.e., natriuretic peptides, echocardiogram), and administer diuretics as appropriate to improve volume status and blood pressure.* Women with HDP should have their blood pressures monitored closely after discharge, ideally with a home BP monitoring program,