Jaslyn Rasmuson

“I was surprised by how much the knowledge of physicians about the long-term risks of preeclampsia varied.”

Long-term cardiovascular risk for women with preeclampsia and adverse pregnancy outcomes

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and damage to organ systems. Preeclampsia is known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) later in life, making the clinical management of these patients critical to prevent future complications. The Postpartum Preeclampsia Clinic (PPPC) at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women was created to help address this need, with the goal of decreasing the risk of CVD through personalized nutrition and physical activity goals.

This project aims to assess family physicians' understanding of the long-term cardiovascular risks of preeclampsia. Family physicians are vital in the management of this patient cohort, and the PPPC aims to help educate family physicians who have a patient referred to the clinic by sending an informative letter.

This project has two primary elements. Firstly, family physicians who received a letter from the PPPC will be surveyed and compared to family physicians who did not receive a letter. This survey will assess the physician's knowledge of preeclampsia as a risk factor for CVD, as well as their understanding of the approach to managing these patients. The survey will be stored on the REDCap database and qualitative and quantitative analysis will be performed. We hypothesize that physicians who received a letter from the PPPC will be more aware of the cardiovascular risk of preeclampsia and will have a greater understanding of the long-term management of these patients in terms of diet and physical activity goals.

Second, the long-term cardiovascular outcomes of women who had a pregnancy complicated by preeclampsia will be compared between those managed by a specialist and those managed in primary care. This will help further clarify how the management of this patient group impacts cardiovascular outcomes. This portion of the project is part of a larger study that aims to characterize and quantify the role of preeclampsia in a woman's overall cardiovascular risk.

Jaslyn Rasmuson was supervised by Winnie Sia and her summer studentship was funded by the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation. She is enrolled in the Doctor of Medicine program.