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Study Background

The focus of our research is to explore the mechanisms linking maternal health during pregnancy with cardiovascular disease in later life. Studies have shown that women with pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, gestational hypertension or premature delivery are associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease in later life. Often there is a period of many decades after pregnancy before this increased risk is apparent.  This offers a window of opportunity to potentially prevent the future cardiovascular disease.

Study Objective

Our study aims to explore the links between complications during pregnancy and cardiovascular disease in later life so that we may better identify which women are at greatest risk and how it may be possible to reduce this risk. 

Study Recruitment

We are aiming to recruit over 250 participants who delivered at the Oxford University Hospitals Trust between 5 and 10 years ago.  We are recruiting women who had a complication during pregnancy (gestational hypertension, preeclampsia and/or preterm delivery) and those who had an uncomplicated pregnancy to compare.

Study Visits

Study visits will take place at the John Radcliffe Hospital. Study participants will undergo detailed non-invasive imaging and functional testing of the cardiovascular system. Study assessments include magnetic resonance imaging of the heart and brain, functional assessment of the heart using echocardiogram, imaging of the small blood vessels and arteries. We will also collect a small blood sample with your permission. Study visits will take approximately 4-5 hours and testing will be scheduled at the participants’ convenience.  Full details of the study visits will be explained to potential participants in the study information leaflets.

Research Funding

The study is supported with funding from the British Heart Foundation

Study Approval

The study has been approved by the South Central Oxford A Ethics Committee (Reference 08/H0604/127)

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