AIM: A single-centre, prospective longitudinal study to assess changes in maternal arterial stiffness and cardiac output parameters among low-risk healthy pregnant women.
METHODOLOGY: Thirty low-risk, healthy, pregnant women attending their routine antenatal dating ultrasound scan were recruited. Non-invasive assessment of arterial stiffness and cardiac output was undertaken at five gestational windows from 11 to 40 weeks of pregnancy. Data were analysed using a linear mixed model incorporating time and other relevant predictors as fixed effects, and patient as a random effect.
RESULTS: Gestational age had a significant effect on all arterial stiffness parameters, including brachial augmentation index (AIx) (p = .001), aortic AIx (p = .002) and aortic pulse wave velocity (p = .002). The aortic AIx (%) reduced during pregnancy: the lowest mean (standard error, SE) was 4.07 (1.01) at 28 weeks before it increased to 7.04 (SE 1.64) at 40 weeks. Similarly, non-invasive assessments of cardiac output (p < .001), stroke volume (p = .014), heart rate (p < .001) and total peripheral resistance (p < .001) demonstrated significant changes with gestational age. Mean cardiac output (l/m) increased during pregnancy reaching a peak at 28 weeks gestation 6.66 (SE 0.28), but dropped thereafter to reach 5.71 (SE 0.25) around term.
CONCLUSION: The current study provides pregnancy normograms for gestational changes in arterial stiffness and cardiac output parameters among low-risk, healthy pregnant women. Further work will be required to assess the risk of placental mediated diseases and pregnancy outcome among pregnant women with parameters outside the normal range.
- Cardiac Output/physiology
- Longitudinal Studies
- Pregnancy Trimesters/physiology
- Prospective Studies
- Reference Values
- Vascular Stiffness