Wanda Nicholson (USA)
Howard Taylor Lecture
Approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy every day across the globe. The vast majority of maternal deaths occur in developing countries. Skilled care before, during and after childbirth can save the lives of women. Cardiovascular disease and cardiomyopathy are becoming increasingly frequent causes of maternal mortality, as improvements in care access reduce deaths due to direct obstetric causes. Evidence has shown that health care provider factors such as delays in diagnosis, inappropriate therapy and misdiagnosis occurred in more than half of deaths. A significant proportion of cardiovascular deaths could be prevented with earlier diagnosis and intervention. Because pregnancy is a period of frequent interaction with health care providers, we have the opportunity to detect and treat heart disease, improve pregnancy outcomes, and affect future cardiovascular health. Practical solutions, including algorithms for screening, diagnosis and management will be reviewed.