OBJECTIVE: To investigate maternal cardiovascular function in pregnancies complicated by intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). METHODS: Maternal echocardiography and ambulatory blood pressure monitoring were performed in pregnancies complicated by IUGR (n = 12) and controls (n = 12), all of whom were normotensive at enrollment. RESULTS: Compared to controls, maternal blood pressure (P = 0.016) and total vascular resistance (P = 0.008) were higher in IUGR pregnancies. Heart rate was lower (P = 0.003), as was systolic function expressed by midwall fractional shortening (P = 0.04). No significant differences between the two groups were observed for left atrial or left ventricular dimensions, nor for left ventricular geometry. Assessment of diastolic function by means of transmitral Doppler flow measurements revealed a significantly longer isovolumetric relaxation time in pregnancies with IUGR (P = 0.006). CONCLUSIONS: In normotensive pregnancies complicated by IUGR, as compared to controls, there is decreased diastolic and systolic maternal cardiac function, and a higher blood pressure.
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