This site is intended for health professionals only

Expectant mums at risk of AMI

A new study has shown that pregnant women could be up to four times more likely to have a heart attack than women who are not expecting a child.

With more and more women delaying having children until they are in their thirties, the chances of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) potentially increase.

The condition is rare in women of child-bearing age but can increase a woman's risk of heart attack "three to four fold", according to the review in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Researchers at the Tel Aviv University in Israel and the University of Southern California in the US reviewed 103 women aged between 19 and 44 with pregnancy-related AMI over a 10-year period. They were compared with 125 cases who had been previously diagnosed in a 1995 study.

Dr Uri Elkayam of the University of Southern California said that there had been a "significant drop" in maternal deaths related to AMI during and immediately following pregnancy in the last decade. "Our initial report indicated a mortality rate of 20%, and nearly 40% was reported by other studies," he said.

The new data suggest that only 5% to 10% of expectant and new mothers who have a heart attack die as a result, he added. This could be due to increased awareness and more aggressive clinical approaches to treating AMI in general.

Copyright © PA Business 2008

Journal of the American College of Cardiology