Determinants of future cardiovascular health in women with a history of preeclampsia

Gerbrand A. Zoet*, Maria P H Koster, Birgitta K. Velthuis, Christianne J M de Groot, Angela H E M Maas, Bart C J M Fauser, Arie Franx, Bas B. van Rijn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Women who develop preeclampsia have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) later in life. However, current guidelines on cardiovascular risk assessment and prevention are unclear on how and when to screen these women postpartum, and about the role of a positive history of preeclampsia in later-life CVD risk management. The aim of this review is to discuss the present knowledge on commonly used cardiovascular screening modalities available to women with a history of preeclampsia, and to discuss recent developments in early detection of CVD using cardiovascular imaging. Furthermore, we explore how female-specific risk factors may have additional value in cardiovascular screening, in particular in relatively young women, although their implementation in clinical practice is challenged by inconsistent results and lack of long-term outcome data. Non-invasive imaging techniques, e.g., coronary artery intima-media thickness (CIMT), can be helpful to detect subclinical atherosclerotic disease, and coronary artery calcium scoring (CACS) has shown to be effective in early detection of cardiovascular damage. However, while more short-term and long-term follow-up studies are becoming available, few studies have investigated women with a history of preeclampsia in the fourth and fifth decade of life, when early signs of premature CVD are most likely to become apparent. Further studies are needed to inform new and improved clinical practice guidelines, and provide long-term strategies to effectively prevent CVD, specifically targeted at women with a history of preeclampsia. Additionally, evaluation of feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and implementation of CVD screening and prevention initiatives targeted at former preeclampsia patients are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-161
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Preeclampsia
  • Prevention
  • Risk assessment
  • Screening


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