Heart attack risk is increasing in pregnant women

Heart attack risk is increasing in pregnant women

The risk of having a heart attack while pregnant, giving birth, or during the two months after delivery, continues to increase for American women, a new study finds.

The study was led by NYU School of Medicine researchers. It found that the risk of suffering a heart attack among pregnant women rose 25 percent from 2002 to 2014.

The researchers suggest that the trend among many women to have children later in life is one possible reason for the increase.

More women are also obese and/or have diabetes, which are key risk factors for heart attack.

Another factor that may explain the rising numbers is that myocardial infarcts, the technical name for heart attacks, are easier to detect than a decade ago.

In the study, researchers examined 49,829,753 births recorded in hospitals. They found that 1,061 heart attacks happened during labor and delivery.

Another 922 women were hospitalized for heart attack before birth, and 2,390 heart attacks occurred during the recovery period after birth.

The team suggests that although the absolute numbers of heart attacks and deaths from pregnant women remain low, the high death rate (unchanged at 4.5% of cases) is a public health issue.

The study also provided further evidence that the risk of having a heart attack during pregnancy rises as women get older.

A woman between the ages of 35 to 39 who becomes pregnant is five times more likely to suffer a heart attack than a woman in her 20s.

Women in their early 40s who become pregnant are 10 times more at risk than women in their 20s. Few women, they say, become pregnant after age 45.

Data for the study came from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s National Inpatient Survey.

Specifically, rates for myocardial infarction were found to have increased from 7.1 for every 100,000 pregnancies in 2002 to 9.5 for every 100,000 pregnancies in 2014.

Funding support for the study was provided by NYU Langone. Smilowitz was also supported by National Institutes of Health training grant T32 HL098129.

The study is published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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