METHODS A retrospective cohort study investigated women who presented with heart failure in pregnancy between 2004 and 2017. Hospital records were interrogated using International Classification of Diseases v10 codes for heart failure. Patient characteristics, investigations, treatment, obstetric and anesthetic management, and maternal-fetal outcome data were collected and summarized using descriptive statistics.
RESULTS One-hundred-and-twenty cases (in 93 122 deliveries) were identified across the 13-year period (antepartum heart failure 51%, postpartum heart failure 49%).The most common etiologies were pre-eclampsia (28%), cardiomyopathy (22%), and valvular heart disease (18%). Cesarean delivery occurred in 76% of cases (13% because of the maternal cardiac condition). Neuraxial techniques were used for most deliveries (cesarean 83%; vaginal 90%). For cesarean delivery, titrated epidural or general anesthesia was employed in 48% and 16%, respectively. Cardiac arrest occurred in two cases (1.7%) and 44% required coronary or intensive care unit admission.
CONCLUSIONS The incidence of heart failure was 0.13% (1:776 deliveries). Pre-eclampsia was the leading cause but may have been historically under-acknowledged. Anesthetic and obstetrical decisions were tailored by means of multidisciplinary input, with cesarean delivery and regional anesthesia used in the majority. The postpartum period warrants heightened attention for these patients.