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NSW longitudinal study of first-time mothers with heart disease and their babies

Professor Elizabeth Sullivan, Institution: The University of Newcastle

2016 NSW CVRN Women and Heart Disease Grant

Years funded: 2017-2021


The NSW longitudinal study of first-time mothers with heart disease and their babies will examine the long term health effects of pregnancy on cardiac disease progression of over 800 women. While it’s recognised that the additional workload on the heart during pregnancy can result in - sometimes catastrophic - complications, the long term impact of pregnancy on surviving women is poorly understood. The study will invite all first-time mothers with heart disease giving birth in 2017 to consent to a longitudinal study that will examine the influence of pregnancy on heart disease and enable future research into the long-term interaction of pregnancy and heart disease. This is the first project of its kind conducted in Australia and internationally. It will establish a national research resource that provides an evidence base to governments, clinicians, advocacy groups and women of reproductive age with heart disease. The project takes a wholistic view of health and will examine socio-demographic factors, the risk factors and health behaviours, use of health services and clinical management and outcomes including mortality throughout the women’s lifespans, using a combination of surveys and data linkage.

The overarching aim of the study - which draws on a strong network of researchers and clinicians straddling cardiac, obstetric, maternal-fetal medicine and Aboriginal health - is to improve outcomes for the increasing numbers of women with heart disease who become pregnant.

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