3 groups call on cardiologists to double down on maternal mortality prevention

The American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and the Association of Black Cardiologists released a joint statement May 17 calling on cardiologists to take an active role in preventing deaths in pregnant women.

"The death of a woman during pregnancy, at delivery, or soon after childbirth is an immeasurable tragedy for her family as well as society at large," the statement read. "Urgent action is needed to combat the maternal morbidity and mortality crisis in America, and cardiologists have a vital role to play."

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of maternal mortality and death among Black women, according to the statement. Data from 2021 shows that maternal mortality rates increased by almost 60 percent. And Black women are two to three times more likely to experience maternal mortality compared to white women. 

"As nature's first cardiac stress test for a woman, pregnancy provides a window to future cardiovascular health," the statement said. "Therefore, cardiologists cannot afford to be bystanders to the maternal health of their patients especially as it pertains to women who are most affected by the maternal morbidity crisis. Adverse pregnancy outcomes such as gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, eclampsia, preterm delivery, gestational diabetes, small-for-gestational-age delivery, placental abruption, and pregnancy loss increase a woman's risk of developing cardiovascular risk factors and lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease."

All three associations have launched initiatives and published scientific statements to educate stakeholders about the maternal health crisis. They call on cardiologists to join the effort to educate the community and stakeholders.

"We encourage all cardiovascular specialists to double down on their efforts to reduce maternal mortality and to eliminate racial and ethnic gaps in maternal health outcomes," the statement said.

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