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Pregnancy and atherosclerosis

  • C. Restrepo
    Footnotes
    Affiliations
    Department of Pathology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans, La. 70112 U.S.A.
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  • M.A. Guzmán
    Footnotes
    Affiliations
    Department of Pathology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans, La. 70112 U.S.A.
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  • D.A. Eggen
    Correspondence
    Reprint requests to: Douglas A. Eggen, Ph.D., Department of Pathology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, 1542 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans, La. 70112, U.S.A.
    Affiliations
    Department of Pathology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans, La. 70112 U.S.A.
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  • J.P. Strong
    Affiliations
    Department of Pathology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans, La. 70112 U.S.A.
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  • Author Footnotes
    ∗ Visiting Research Professor, permanent address: Departamento de Patología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia, S.A.
    ∗∗ Visiting Research Professor, permanent address: Instituto de Nutrición de Centro America y Panamá, Carretera Roosevelt, Zona 11, Guatemala, C.A.
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      Abstract

      We have compared the extent of atherosclerotic lesions in women dying while pregnant with those in women dying accidentally. For this study we used arteries from autopsied persons in geographically distinct human populations. These specimens were prepared and evaluated using standardized techniques and formed part of the material collected for the International Atherosclerosis Project.
      There were no consistent differences in mean extent of fatty streak involvement between pregnancy and accidental cases. In the pooled cases from geographic locations with high and medium levels of atherosclerotic lesion involvement, pregnant women aged 25–34 years had significantly more abdominal aortic fatty streaks than non-pregnant women who died in accidents. No significant differences in aortic fatty streaks were detected in the younger and older pregnant and non-pregnant women nor in those women from location-race groups with low levels of atherosclerosis.
      Pregnant women in the 35–44 year age group, on the average, had significantly less fatty streaks in the left anterior descending coronary than non-pregnant women.
      Significant differences in raised atherosclerotic lesions (fibrous plaques, complicated and calcified lesions) were neither expected nor found in either the abdominal aorta or left anterior descending coronary artery.
      Despite the paucity of significant differences and inconsistent differences, the results suggest that pregnancy may have some relation to the extent of fatty streak involvement in certain age groups, arterial segments, and selected populations.

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