Objective To examine the association between hypertensive diseases of pregnancy (gestational hypertension and pre-eclampsia) and the development of circulatory diseases in later life.
Design Cohort study of women who had pre-eclampsia during their first singleton pregnancy. Two comparison groups were matched for age and year of delivery, one with gestational hypertension and one with no history of raised blood pressure.
Setting Maternity services. in the Grampian region of Scotland.
Participants Women selected from the Aberdeen maternity and neonatal databank who were resident in Aberdeen and who delivered a first, live singleton from 1951 to 1970.
Main outcome measures Current vital and cardiovascular health status ascertained through postal questionnaire survey, clinical examination, linkage to hospital discharge, and mortality data.
Results There were significant positive associations between pre-eclampsia/eclampsia or gestational hypertension and later hypertension in all measures. The adjusted relative risks varied from 1.13-3.72 for gestational hypertension and 1.40-3.98 for pre-eclampsia or eclampsia. The adjusted incident rate ratio for death from stroke for the pre-eclampsia/eclampsia group was 3.59 (95% confidence interval 1.04 to 12.4).
Conclusions Hypertensive diseases of pregnancy seem to be associated in later life with diseases related to hypertension. If greater awareness of this association leads to earlier diagnosis and improved management, there may be scope for reducing a proportion of the morbidity and mortality from such diseases.
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