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Miscarriages in heart disease link

Women who repeatedly suffer miscarriages are more likely to have a family history of heart disease, according to research.

Recurrent miscarriages, which are often defined as the loss of three or more pregnancies in a row, are rare and only affect around 1% of people trying to conceive.

Experts have yet to nail down the exact cause of the condition, but an estimated 75% of women suffering with it will go on to deliver a healthy baby in the future.

But new research, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, has suggested a number of possible common genetic factors between recurrent miscarriages and coronary artery disease.

Researchers compiled the results from women going through their first birth in Scotland between 1992 and 2006.

Hospital records were used to see whether the women had suffered previous miscarriages, and to assess their parents' chance of dying from heart disease or being admitted to hospital for it.

The study found that women who had suffered two previous miscarriages had parents with a 25% higher chance of suffering heart disease.

Those women who had three miscarriages or more had parents who were 56% more likely to suffer heart disease.

The authors, including experts from the universities of Cambridge and Glasgow, concluded: "The parents of women who experience recurrent miscarriage are more likely to experience ischaemic heart disease (IHD).

"Recurrent miscarriage and IHD may have common patho-physiological pathways and genetic predispositions.

"This hypothesis makes the prediction that genetic risk factors for IHD will also be associated with an increased risk of recurrent miscarriage."

Copyright © Press Association 2011

BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology