Good at heart: Developing a tertiary perinatal cardiac service; the first eight years of experience


Heland S, de Chellis A, Rieder W, Sleeman M, Johns J, Lancefield T, Robinson A, Fung A, Walker S.
Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2020 Apr 23. doi: 10.1111/ajo.13160. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 32323865
Similar articles
Select item 32326907


Background: Maternal cardiac disease is the most common cause of indirect maternal death, and women with pre-existing cardiac disease have complex medical, obstetric and anaesthetic requirements. Our hospital commenced a multidisciplinary perinatal cardiac service in 2009 to optimise outcomes in women with cardiac disease.

Aim: To assess the maternal and perinatal outcomes of women referred to the clinic to evaluate clinical practice and inform future service provision.

Materials and methods: This is a single-centre retrospective study of women referred to the perinatal cardiac service between 2009-2016. Data collected included: demographic details; cardiac diagnosis; pregnancy outcomes, including anaesthetic and delivery complications, and admission to intensive care unit (ICU)/high dependency unit (HDU).

Results: One hundred and fifty-two women were referred for care in 165 pregnancies. Congenital heart disease was the most common indication for referral (35%), followed by maternal cardiac arrhythmia (26%) and valvular disease (18%). The perinatal mortality rate was 2%, median gestational age at delivery was 38 weeks 4 days, fetal growth restriction (customised birthweight <10th centile) was 9% although 25 (17%) pregnancies resulted in preterm birth, 36% of which were spontaneous and 64% were iatrogenic. Maternal outcomes were favourable and there were no maternal deaths. However, 51% of women required a caesarean section, and 23% who achieved a live birth required ICU/HDU admission.

Conclusion: This study confirmed that women with cardiac disease are at increased risk of preterm birth, and high acuity in the peripartum period but otherwise good maternal and perinatal outcomes. An integrated multidisciplinary perinatal cardiac service can optimise perinatal outcomes in these women.