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Pregnancy Complication Linked to Hypertension in Kids

Maternal high blood pressure disorder, preeclampsia, may pass on risk

MONDAY, April 4, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Children of mothers who had the dangerous blood pressure complication preeclampsia during pregnancy are also at high risk for a type of hypertension themselves, researchers report.

Specifically, these children are at raised risk for pulmonary hypertension, a potentially lethal blood vessel disorder of the lungs characterized by above-normal levels of blood pressure in the pulmonary artery, which originates in the heart.

This is the first study to show that preeclampsia may have a persistent and potentially deadly impact on a child's pulmonary circulation.

Swiss and Bolivian researchers used echocardiography to measure pulmonary artery pressure in 11 children whose mothers had preeclampsia, comparing those findings to 13 children of mothers who had normal pregnancies.

Children of mothers who had preeclampsia had about a 33 percent higher pulmonary artery pressure than the other children, they report.

The researchers are now trying to identify the underlying mechanism behind pulmonary vascular damage in children born to mothers with preeclampsia. Pinpointing the mechanism could lead to new ways to prevent and treat primary pulmonary hypertension, they said.

The study was presented April 4 at the Experimental Biology meeting, in San Diego.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about pulmonary hypertension.

SOURCE: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, news release, April 4, 2005
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