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Pregnancy-related aortic complications in women with bicuspid aortic valve


Objectives To describe the aortic-related risks associated with pregnancy in women with bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) and to evaluate changes in aortic diameter in pregnancy.

Methods Prospective observational study of patients with BAV from a single-site registry of pregnant women with structural heart disease between 2013 and 2020. Cardiac, obstetric and neonatal outcomes were studied. An assessment of aortic dimensions was performed during pregnancy by two-dimensional echocardiography. Aortic diameters were measured at the annulus, root, sinotubular junction and maximum ascending aorta diameter, and the largest diameter was used. Measurements of the aorta were made using the end-diastolic leading edge-to-leading edge convention.

Results Forty-three women (32.9 years, IQR 29.6–35.3) with BAV were included: 9 (20.9%) had repaired aortic coarctation; 23 (53.5%) had moderate or severe aortic valve disease; 5 (11.6%) had a bioprosthetic aortic valve; and 2 (4.7%) had a mechanical prosthetic aortic valve. Twenty (47.0%) were nulliparous. The mean aortic diameter in the first trimester was 38.5 (SD 4.9) mm, and that in the third trimester was 38.4 (SD 4.8) mm. Forty (93.0%) women had an aortic diameter of <45 mm; 3 (7.0%) had 45–50 mm; and none had >50 mm. Three women (6.9%) with BAV presented cardiovascular complications during pregnancy or the postpartum period (two prosthetic thrombosis and one heart failure). No aortic complications were reported. There was a small but significant increase in aortic diameter during pregnancy (third trimester vs first trimester, 0.52 (SD 1.08) mm; p=0.03). Obstetric complications appeared in seven (16.3%) of pregnancies, and there were no maternal deaths. Vaginal non-instrumental delivery was performed in 21 (51.2%) out of 41 cases. There were no neonatal deaths, and the mean newborn weight was 3130 g (95% CI 2652 to 3380).

Conclusions Pregnancy in BAV women had a low rate of cardiac complications with no aortic complications observed in a small study group. Neither aortic dissection nor need for aortic surgery was reported. A low but significant aortic growth was observed during pregnancy. Although requiring follow-up, the risk of aortic complications in pregnant women with BAV and aortic diameters of <45 mm at baseline is low.

  • bicuspid aortic valve
  • echocardiography
  • pregnancy
  • aortic aneurysm

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. No data are available. Data would be available upon reasonable request.

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