Rutgers Health researchers have found that hypertensive disorders in pregnancy are strongly associated with fatal cardiovascular disease for up to a year after birth.

Among the hypertensive disorders that cause dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy — chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension, preeclampsia without severe features, preeclampsia with severe features, superimposed preeclampsia and eclampsia — all but gestational diabetes were associated with a doubling in the risk of fatal cardiovascular disease compared to women with normal blood pressure.

Eclampsia, a condition whereby hypertensive disorders cause seizures, was associated with a nearly 58-fold increase in fatal cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology.

“Maternal and postpartum mortality rates in the U.S. are higher than in other high-income countries and rising, but more than half of cardiovascular disease-related deaths are preventable,” said lead author Rachel Lee, a data analyst at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “This study provides new information about how each hypertensive disorder is related to fatal cardiovascular disease, so healthcare providers can monitor patients with such complications more closely and develop strategies for keeping them healthy postpartum.” To read the full story.