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The Obstetric Patient for Cardiac Surgery 

The Obstetric Patient for Cardiac Surgery
The Obstetric Patient for Cardiac Surgery

Lauren Powlovich

, and Amanda M. Kleiman

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date: 20 April 2021

Cardiac disease is the second leading cause of morbidity and mortality in pregnancy behind peripartum hemorrhage. In developed countries, a majority of cardiac disease in pregnancy is secondary to congenital heart defects, whereas in developing countries, mitral stenosis secondary to rheumatic fever prevails as the leading cause of cardiac disease during pregnancy. There is added workload on the heart during pregnancy due to the increased blood volume and cardiac output of the parturient. In patients with preexisting cardiac disease, this added workload may lead to decompensated congestive heart failure. Alternatively, such physiologic changes may unmask an unknown cardiac lesion in an unsuspecting patient. Medical management is always the first-line treatment of the pregnant patient with decompensated heart failure. However, if medical management has failed, cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass may be necessary. Due to the unique maternal physiology and the presence of not only one but also two patients, anesthesia, cardiac surgery, and cardiopulmonary bypass come with specific challenges, hemodynamic goals, and ethical dilemmas.

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