Echocardiographic Screening of Pregnant Women During Antenatal Care

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    Thomas Pilgrim
Updated on 29 December 2021
heart disease


Non-obstetrical drivers of adverse pregnancy outcomes are underappreciated. Latent structural heart disease may account for a substantial proportion of adverse pregnancy outcomes in low-resource settings.

Pregnant women presenting to B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences will be prospectively included into a registry upon their visit for antenatal care. Women will be followed until 6 weeks after the time of delivery. Nested within this registry, the investigators will perform a registry-based adaptive cluster randomized crossover trial. The trial compares an experimental condition (echocardiographic screening) and a control condition (routine antenatal care).


Latent structural heart disease may result in complications during pregnancy and delivery. Echocardiographic screening of pregnant women allows for timely detection of structural heart disease in women that may complicate delivery and jeopardize the health and well-being of both the mother and the newborn. In a setting of high rates of latent rheumatic heart disease, with particular high prevalence among women, systematic echocardiographic screening may be a pragmatic approach to prevent adverse clinical outcome related to valvular heart failure. Systematic echocardiographic screening proved to be effective among children in endemic regions.

The present study is a registry-based, adaptive cluster randomized crossover trial. The trial will be nested into a registry of pregnant women presenting for routine antenatal care. The experimental condition will be echocardiographic screening. The control condition will be no echocardiographic screening.

In the experimental condition, all pregnant women presenting for routine antenatal care will be offered transthoracic echocardiographic screening for the detection of latent structural heart disease. In the control condition, pregnant women will undergo routine antenatal care with echocardiography only when clinically indicated. Ascertainment of the primary endpoint will be performed at hospital discharge after delivery and will rely on routinely collected data. All events will be independently adjudicated by an expert panel of pediatricians, cardiologists and gynecologists.

The randomization relates solely to the detection of rheumatic heart disease, while treatment follows guideline recommendations. It is important to note, that all women both in the experimental arm and the control arm detected to have heart disease will undergo optimal medical management during pregnancy and delivery according to the most recent guidelines.

Condition Valvular Heart Disease, Rheumatic Heart Disease, Pregnancy Complications
Treatment Transthoracic Echocardiography
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04936815
SponsorThomas Pilgrim
Last Modified on29 December 2021


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Inclusion Criteria

Pregnant women ≥18 years presenting for routine antenatal care
Written informed consent

Exclusion Criteria

Women presenting to the hospital after delivery
Women presenting directly for delivery without previous antenatal care
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