London doctors find heart defect clue to explain deadly pregnancy condition

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Now a study of 218 pregnant women by Imperial College London has found the 15 who developed pre-eclampsia or FGR had hearts that pumped less blood with each beat, and less efficient blood circulation. Dr Christoph Lees, lead author from the department of surgery and cancer at Imperial, said the conditions “can have serious consequences, yet we’re still largely in the dark about their root cause and how to prevent them. 

Thriving: Hayley Taggart, with daughter Holly at six months (ES Local Feed)

“These findings suggest pre-existing issues with the heart and circulation may play a role, and provide an important piece of the jigsaw.”

Women with FGR or pre-eclampsia had hearts that pumped 16 per cent less blood per minute than those who had healthy pregnancies. Their blood vessels were 17 per cent more resistant to blood flow — causing higher blood pressure .

Hayley Taggart, a midwife at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea hospital, was diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia at 28 weeks while taking part in the trial. A doctor colleague spotted her face, legs and hands were puffy and swollen — a common symptom.

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