, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 38-41

Aortic elastic properties in young pregnant women

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This study aimed to investigate the aortic elastic properties of young pregnant women by comparing them with those of age-matched healthy females. The study group consisted of 21 pregnant women at a mean age of 26 ± 1 years; 22 healthy women at a mean age of 25 ± 1 years constituted the control group. Doppler-color echocardiographic variables and serum estradiol (E2) levels were measured from both groups. The blood samples were obtained from the control group in the first week after menstrual bleeding. Diastolic and systolic blood pressure (DBP and SBP, respectively) were measured with a sphygmomanometer. Systolic and diastolic aortic diameters (AOS and AOD, respectively) were measured 3 cm proximal to the aortic valves. Aortic elastic properties were assessed according to the following formulas: 1, Aortic strain = (AOS − AOD)/AOD; 2, Aortic distensibility = 2 × (AOS − AOD)/(PP × AOD); 3, Aortic diameter change = AOS − AOD; 4, Aortic stiffness index = ln(SBP/DBP)/(AOS − AOD)/AOD. The results were expressed as mean ± standard deviation and compared by t-test between groups. P < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant. All women in the study group were in their first pregnancy and second trimester. The height and weight were 160 ± 5 vs 164 ± 6 cm and 60 ± 9 vs 54 ± 3 kg in the study vs control groups, respectively (P < 0.05). The AOD was 26 ± 3 vs 26 ± 4 mm and AOS 29 ± 3 vs 28 ± 4 mm. Pulse pressure was 43 ± 3 vs 45 ± 8 mmHg in the study vs control groups, respectively (P > 0.05). The serum E2 level was significantly higher in pregnant women (21 300 ± 2 300 pg/ml). Derived aortic elastic properties in pregnant women were also increased significantly (P < 0.0005). The indexes of aortic elastic properties are altered and aortic stiffness is decreased among young pregnant women. This may be due to the adaptation mechanisms including high estradiol levels detected in pregnancy.

This study was presented as an oral presentation at the XXth Turkish Society of Cardiology Meeting (November 27–30, 2004) in Antalya, Turkey