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Preterm Delivery May Up Risk for Chronic Hypertension in Women

Risk for hypertension increased within first 10 years after delivery and remained elevated at least 40 years later

TUESDAY, Oct. 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Preterm delivery is associated with an increased risk for subsequent chronic hypertension in women, according to a study published online Oct. 13 in JAMA Cardiology.

Casey Crump, M.D., Ph.D., from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and colleagues examined the long-term risks for chronic hypertension associated with preterm delivery in a cohort involving all 2,195,989 women in Sweden with a singleton delivery from Jan. 1, 1973, to Dec. 31, 2015.

Overall, 16 percent of women were diagnosed with hypertension in 46.1 million person-years of follow-up. The adjusted hazard ratio for hypertension associated with preterm delivery (gestational age <37 weeks) was 1.67 within 10 years after delivery. When further stratified, the adjusted hazard ratios were 2.23, 1.85, 1.55, and 1.26, respectively, for extremely preterm (22 to 27 weeks of gestation), moderately preterm (28 to 33 weeks), late preterm (34 to 36 weeks), and early-term (37 to 38 weeks) compared with full-term (39 to 41 weeks) delivery. At 10 to 19, 20 to 29, and 30 to 43 years after delivery, these risks were attenuated but remained significantly elevated (adjusted hazard ratios, 1.40, 1.20, and 1.12 for preterm versus full-term delivery, respectively). Shared determinants of preterm delivery and hypertension within families did not explain these findings.

“Preterm delivery should now be recognized as a risk factor for hypertension across the life course,” the authors write. “Women with a history of preterm delivery need early preventive evaluation and long-term risk reduction and monitoring for hypertension.”

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