Medical and Scientific Background
Vascular pregnancy disorders complicate 10% of all pregnancies and are responsible for 50.000 maternal deaths annually. These complication include fetal growth restriction, pregnancy induced hypertension and preeclampsia (PE). PE is clinically defined as de novo hypertension along with end-organ disease after 20 weeks of gestation. Unfortunately, the exact etiology of PE is not completely unraveled but PE is thought to be an endothelial disease superimposed upon pre-existing circulatory, metabolic and inflammatory abnormalities which is exposed (or luxated) during pregnancy when defective placentation occurs. On the short term PE is associated with serious fetal (small for gestational age infancy, fetal death and preterm birth) and maternal complications (pulmonary edema, stroke, acute respiratory distress syndrome, placental abruption, HELLP (Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes, and Low Platelets) syndrome, disseminated intravascular coagulation, acute renal failure, liver rupture, seizures, or death. On the long term, PE is associated with increased long-term cardiovascular risk including ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular accidents, arrhythmias, heart failure and diastolic dysfunction. The past decennium, many studies on the association between PE and the risk on CVD have emerged. However, research is still needed to predict PE, to study the link between CV risk factors and PE and to predict more precisely which women will develop CVD after complicated pregnancies.