WEDNESDAY, Jan. 5, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The maternal mortality rate (MMR) has increased for chronic hypertension-associated MMR in the United States, but not for preeclampsia/eclampsia-associated MMR, according to a study recently published in Hypertension.

Cande V. Ananth, Ph.D., M.P.H., from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and colleagues examined trends in MMR due to chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension, and preeclampsia/eclampsia in a sequential time series analysis of 155,710,441 live births and 3,287 hypertension-related maternal deaths in the United States during 1979 to 2018. MMR was defined as death due to hypertension during pregnancy or within 42 days postpartum.

The researchers found that the overall hypertension-related MMR was 2.1 per 100,000 live births during the 40-year period, with MMR almost fourfold higher among Black versus White women (5.4 versus 1.4 per 100,000 live births). Advancing age was associated with a sharp increase in MMR at 15 years of age or older and 25 years of age or older among Black and White women, respectively. Increasing MMR was also seen in association with birth cohort. There was a 2.6 percent decline in preeclampsia/eclampsia-related MMR annually, whereas chronic hypertension-related MMR increased by 9.2 percent annually. When adjusting for increasing obesity rates, the decline in MMR was attenuated.

“We have gotten much better at treating women with preeclampsia/eclampsia during pregnancy, which has undoubtedly contributed to the decline in maternal death rates, but we haven’t done as good a job in treating women with chronic hypertension,” Ananth said in a statement.

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