Changes in Maternal Heart Rate Variability in Response to the Administration of Routine Obstetric Medication in Hospitalized Patients: Study Protocol for a Cohort Study (MAMA-Heart Study)

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Abstract

Pregnancy is a period of continuous change in the maternal cardiovascular system, partly mediated by the autonomic nervous system. Insufficient autonomic adaptation to increasing gestation is associated with pregnancy complications, such as hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and preterm birth (both major causes of perinatal morbidity and mortality). Consequently, maternal heart rate variability (mHRV), which is a proxy measure for autonomic activity, is increasingly assessed in these cohorts to investigate the pathophysiology of their complications. A better pathophysiological understanding could facilitate the early detection of these complications, which remains challenging. However, such studies (typically performed in pregnancies leading to hospitalization) have generated conflicting findings. A probable reason for these conflicting findings is that these study cohorts were likely administered routine obstetric medications during the study period of which the effects on mHRV are largely unknown. Subsequently, we design a longitudinal, observational study to quantifying the effect of these medications-particularly corticosteroids, which are known to affect fetal HRV-on mHRV to improve the interpretation of past and future studies. We will enroll 61 women admitted to a tertiary obstetric unit with an indication to receive corticosteroids antenatally. Participants' mHRV will be continuously acquired throughout their hospitalization with wrist-worn photoplethysmography to facilitate a within-patient comparison of the effect of corticosteroids on mHRV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-25
Number of pages13
JournalClinics and Practice
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2021

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