Background: Previous research has shown that women with congenital heart disease (CHD) are more susceptible to cardiovascular, obstetric, and offspring events. The causative pathophysiologic mechanisms are incompletely understood. Inadequate uteroplacental circulation is an important denominator in adverse obstetric events and offspring outcome. The relation between cardiac function and uteroplacental perfusion has not been investigated in women with CHD. Moreover, the effects of physiologic changes on pregnancy-related events are unknown. In addition, long-term effects of pregnancy on cardiac function and exercise capacity are scarce. Methods: Zwangerschap bij Aangeboren Hartafwijking (ZAHARA) II, a prospective multicenter cohort study, investigates changes in and relations between cardiovascular parameters and uteroplacental Doppler flow patterns during pregnancy in women with CHD compared to matched healthy controls. The relation between cardiovascular parameters and uteroplacental Doppler flow patterns and the occurrence of cardiac, obstetric, and offspring events will be investigated. At 20 and 32 weeks of gestation, clinical, neurohumoral, and echocardiographic evaluation and fetal growth together with Doppler flow measurements in fetal and maternal circulation are performed. Maternal evaluation is repeated 1 year postpartum. Implications: By identifying the factors responsible for pregnancy-related events in women with CHD, risk stratification can be refined, which may lead to better pre-pregnancy counseling and eventually improve treatment of these women.

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Keywords Doppler echocardiography, Doppler flowmetry, article, cardiovascular parameters, cardiovascular risk, clinical evaluation, cohort analysis, congenital heart disease, controlled clinical trial, female, fetus circulation, fetus growth, gestational age, human, multicenter study, placenta circulation, pregnancy, priority journal, progeny, risk management
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Journal American Heart Journal
Balci, A, Sollie, K.M, Mulder, B.J.M, de Laat, M.W.M, Roos-Hesselink, J.W, van Dijk, A.P.J, … Pieper, P.G. (2011). Associations between cardiovascular parameters and uteroplacental Doppler (blood) flow patterns during pregnancy in women with congenital heart disease: Rationale and design of the Zwangerschap bij Aangeboren Hartafwijking (ZAHARA) II study. American Heart Journal, 161(2), 269–275. doi:10.1016/j.ahj.2010.10.024