Pregnancy, cardiomyopathies, and genetics

J. Peter van Tintelen, Petronella G. Pieper, Karin Y. van Spaendonck-Zwarts, Maarten P. van den Berg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article*Academicpeer-review


Although familial forms of cardiomyopathy such as hypertrophic or dilated cardiomyopathy have been recognized for decades, it is only recently that much of the genetic basis of these inherited cardiomyopathies has been elucidated. This has provided important insights into the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the disease phenotype. This increased knowledge and the availability of genetic testing has resulted in increasing numbers of mutation carriers who are being monitored, including many who are now of child-bearing age. Pregnancy is generally well tolerated in asymptomatic patients or mutation carriers with inherited cardiomyopathies. However, since pregnancy leads to major physiological changes in the cardiovascular system, in women with genetic cardiomyopathies or who carry a mutation pre-disposing to a genetic cardiomyopathy, pregnancy entails a risk of developing heart failure and/or arrhythmias. This deterioration of cardiac function may occur despite optimal medical treatment. Advanced left ventricular dysfunction, poor functional class (NYHA class III or IV), or prior cardiac events appear to increase the risk of maternal cardiac complications. However, there are no large series of cardiomyopathy patients who are regularly evaluated for cardiac complications during pregnancy and for certain types of inherited cardiomyopathy, only case reports on individual pregnancies are available. Pre-conception cardiologic evaluation and genetic counselling are important for every woman with a cardiomyopathy or a cardiomyopathy-related mutation who is considering having a family. In this article, we give an overview of the basic clinical aspects, genetics, and pregnancy outcome in women with different types of inherited cardiomyopathies. We also discuss the genetic aspects of pregnancy-associated cardiomyopathy, including peripartum cardiomyopathy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-578
JournalCardiovascular Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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