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Aortopathy in pregnancy
  1. Stephanie Louise Curtis1,
  2. Lorna Swan2
  1. 1 Department of Cardiology, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol, UK
  2. 2 Department of Adult Congenital Heart Disease, Golden Jubilee National Hospital West of Scotland Regional Heart and Lung Centre, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Stephanie Louise Curtis, Department of Cardiology, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol BS2 8HW, UK; stephanie.curtis{at}


Aortic dissection is one of the most common causes of death in pregnancy. Most cases are caused by hereditary thoracic aortopathy (HTA), and women are often unaware they are at risk. Awareness, early recognition and involvement of senior clinicians from the expert cardio-obstetric team are essential to facilitate early diagnosis and carefully planned and coordinated antenatal and postnatal care. Frequent imaging antenatally and good blood pressure control are key. Delivery needs particular attention with optimal pain control and techniques to minimise maternal effort. Dissection is most common post partum and a period of close surveillance with meticulous blood pressure control after delivery is crucial, as well as follow-up of the baby in paediatric services. All women with a family history of aortic dissection or sudden death should be investigated. Women with known HTA should be offered specialist individualised pre-pregnancy counselling, including advice about genetics and inheritance, before starting a family. Future research is directed towards more individualised risk assessment, pre-pregnancy advice and pharmacological options to reduce dissection risk.

  • aneurysm
  • dissecting
  • aortic aneurysm
  • Marfan syndrome
  • genetics
  • pregnancy

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  • Contributors Both authors wrote and revised the paper.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.