NSLHD Year in Review 2020

Dr Anthony Ashton

Pregnancy induced heart failure is a complication of pregnancy that threatens the lives of around 200 new Australian mothers each year, but a team from the Kolling Institute is leading new research to identify and treat women at risk of the condition. GEnetic breakthrough offers hope for women with rare, deadly condition

“A greater knowledge of the genetics will also allow us to develop specific therapeutic breakthroughs for the different types of pregnancy induced heart failure, improving survival and maternal health. “The disease can have a devastating impact on women and their families, so we’re encouraged by the recent advances and optimistic improved treatment will be offered in the years ahead.”

Known as peripartum cardiomyopathy, the rare disease weakens the heart muscle during pregnancy. Dr Anthony Ashton said it is a complex condition, with the three different types of pregnancy induced heart failure contributing to three very different outcomes. “Around a third of women impacted will recover following the birth of their child, while a large share will manage with medication for the rest of their lives,” Anthony said. “Some women however, will have a 20 per cent chance of dying within

five years or require a life-saving heart transplant.” Researchers at the Kolling are offering renewed hope with the team identifying the gene signatures linked to the condition. “This has been a breakthrough discovery and has paved the way towards improved diagnosis and ultimately treatment,” he said. “With this new understanding of the genetic influences, we are now working to develop a test to help us identify women with the condition and treat it before it becomes deadly.”


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