Cardiorespiratory fitness in women after severe pre-eclampsia.

Gronningsaeter L; Estensen ME; Skulstad H; Langesaeter E; Edvardsen E;

Hypertension in pregnancy [Hypertens Pregnancy] 2023 Dec; Vol. 42 (1), pp. 2245054.

Aims: To objectively study cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and physical activity (PA) and to evaluate limiting factors of exercise intolerance associated with poor CRF after severe pre-eclampsia.
Methods: In this single-centre, cross-sectional study, CRF was measured as peak oxygen uptake (VO 2peak ) during a cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) on a treadmill in women 7 years after severe pre-eclampsia. Ninety-six patients and 65 controls were eligible to participate. Cardiac output (CO) was measured by impedance cardiography. PA was measured using accelerometers.
Results: In 62 patients and 35 controls (mean age 40 ± 3 years), the VO 2peak (in mL·kg-1·min-1) values were 31.4 ± 7.2 and 39.1 ± 5.4, respectively (p<0.01). In the patients, the COpeak was (9.6 L·min-1), 16% lower compared to controls (p<0.01). Twelve patients (19%) had a cardiac limitation to CPET. Twenty-three (37%) patients and one (3%) control were classed as unfit, with no cardiopulmonary limitations. The patients demonstrated 25% lower PA level (in counts per minute; p<0.01) and 14% more time being sedentary (p<0.01), compared with the controls. Twenty-one patients (34%) compared with four (17%) controls did not meet the World Health Organization’s recommendations for PA (p=0.02). Body mass index and PA level accounted for 65% of the variability in VO 2peak .
Conclusion: Significantly lower CRF and PA levels were found in patients on long-term follow-up after severe pre-eclampsia. CPET identified cardiovascular limitations in one third of patients. One third appeared unfit, with adiposity and lower PA levels. These findings highlight the need for clinical follow-up and exercise interventions after severe pre-eclampsia.