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Cardiac emergencies in pregnancy 

Cardiac emergencies in pregnancy
Cardiac emergencies in pregnancy

Patrizia Presbitero

, Dennis Zavalloni

, and Benedetta Agnoli


July 27, 2017: This chapter has been re-evaluated and remains up-to-date. No changes have been necessary.

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date: 05 July 2020

Cardiac diseases are an increasingly important cause of morbidity and mortality in pregnant women. Pregnancy leads to several changes in physiological processes, and the cardiovascular system progressively adapts to modifications that may worsen pre-existing pathological conditions or unmask previously undiagnosed diseases. Furthermore, pregnancy may be complicated by specific pathologies, which are harmful for patients with cardiac diseases. Admission to the intensive cardiac care unit is a rare event (0.1–0.9% of deliveries), but mortality rates range from 3.5% to 21%. When treating pregnant women, we are taking care of two subjects: the mother and the fetus. The possible adverse effects of diagnostic examination and/or therapies on the fetus should always be considered, and, even after delivery, possible drug interactions on breastfeeding should be taken in account. In this chapter, an overview on the main cardiac emergencies that may affect pregnancy is provided, with a particular focus on treatments allowed for both mother and fetal protection.

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