Preeclampsia causing Congestive Heart Failure

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Re : Preeclampsia causing Congestive Heart Failure

Postby caryn » Fri Oct 13, 2006 02:27 am

The Working Group Report on High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy says the following:

The heart is usually unaffected in preeclampsia, the decrements in cardiac performance representing a normally contracting ventricle against a markedly increased afterload. Cardiac decompensation may complicate this disorder; however, this is most often due to the presence of preexisting heart disease.

What that means is that it's more likely that some sort of underlying heart disorder was unmasked, rather than caused, by the PE. In my opinion it's definitely a reason to get a really thorough workup before conceiving, as you may have some sort of condition that can be treated both for your own general health and to minimize your chances of experiencing a similar problem in a subsequent pregnancy.

Or it may turn out that you have some underlying medical condition which means you might choose not to experience another pregnancy, given the stress another pregnancy would place on your body.

Or it may turn out that it was just an unusual and unlikely to reoccur side effect of your case of PE -- there's no way to know without having a good diagnostician take a good hard look at you.

Good luck -- planning a subsequent pregnancy is so stressful for us survivors. I really feel that forewarned is forearmed, and that a working relationship with a perinatologist is invaluable.

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Re : Preeclampsia causing Congestive Heart Failure

Postby misup » Thu Oct 12, 2006 04:47 pm


I did not have CHF, but did have the severe pulmonary edema that lalam mentioned. I had organ failure, which ultimatley led to the pulmonary edema. lalam mentioned that it varies for every case study. Unfortunately, the blood work in my second preg. showed no sign of PE, then I did get it anyway. Just as bad with organ failure a second time. I know that is not what you probably want to hear, but keep in mind I DO have other issues... wt issues and anxiety which does not help at ALL. The second preg. they all told me the same thing... it may or may not happen a second time, then after I had Grace, the Doctor said, absolutely no more! This was after 2 x organ failure. Definately get a good medical work up (cardiac as well) and maybe even 2 opinions. Good luck with your decision!

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Re : Preeclampsia causing Congestive Heart Failure

Postby alviarin » Thu Oct 12, 2006 04:29 pm

What a scary experience! I'm glad to hear your daughter is ok.

One of the moms in my last playgroup was diagnosed with peripartum or post-partum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) after the birth of her twins. PPCM can lead to CHF. Pre-eclampsia is a risk factor for PPCM (and it may also be a cause of PPCM in some cases).

She mentioned the following website as a resource for those seeking info about PPCM:

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Re : Preeclampsia causing Congestive Heart Failure

Postby lalam17 » Thu Oct 12, 2006 04:23 pm

I have not had this happen to me, but I have seen it in a few patients. PE/HELLP syndrome can be associated with CHF and Pulmonary Edema. If you did have preeclampsia, it could have been the high blood pressure leading to leaky capillaries (small vessels), which caused pulmonary edema (wet lungs), and significant hemodynamic changes overworked the heart causing heart failure. HOWEVER, you could have had a cardiomyopathy (which preeclampsia is also associated with, although rare) as the cause of your CHF, OR some other underlying problem. I have seen 2 patients with cardiomyopathies, neither of which had preeclampsia. Prognosis for future pregnancies depends on many things. How severe was your heart failure? How long did it take you to recover/have you completely recovered? Were you diagnosed with cardiomyopathy? To get a specific answer for you, you will need an evaluation by an internist and a high risk OB. Peripartum Cardiomyopathy is a really dangerous disease and the risk of developing it in subsequent pregnancies remains high and can have a mortality of over 50%. I am not trying to scare you, because I really don't know your story--but instead, recommending that you get a very complete work-up by doctors who can counsel you on your risks, allowing you and your husband to make an informed decision on future reproduction.

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Preeclampsia causing Congestive Heart Failure

Postby cupcake » Thu Oct 12, 2006 01:26 pm

This is my first time writing on the board. After my first daughter I had congestive heart failure. It's believed by a family memember in the medical field (after looking at my records and blood pressure) that I had preeclampsia which was missed and ultimately lead to the congestive heart failue. I did come very close to death during that point. It was extremely scarey. My daughter (Thank God) was fine and is still fine (she's almost 2) My DH and I would love to have a second child but are so afraid of it all happening again. Has anyone gone through this - that it got to the point of CHF? Did you try again or decide not to? I'd love some feedback.

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