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Systemic disease and other conditions: the heart during pregnancy 

Systemic disease and other conditions: the heart during pregnancy
Chapter:
Systemic disease and other conditions: the heart during pregnancy
Author(s):

Agnes Pasquet

, Marcia Barbosa

, and Jo-Nan Liao

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198726012.003.0056
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date: 23 October 2020

Normal pregnancy represents a haemodynamic challenge for the heart. The main changes are increases in blood (plasma) volume and cardiac output, and a decrease in systemic vascular resistance. These change start early during pregnancy and will be maximal around the 24th week of gestation. This translates into echocardiographic changes such as increase in ventricular volume, stroke volume, and changes in geometry. Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a left ventricular dysfunction without any underlying cause, arising near the end of the gestation or in the early postpartum period. Echocardiography is the key to confirm the diagnosis and also to exclude other causes of cardiomyopathy or to explain clinical signs.

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