ACC Joins Medical Societies in Commitment to Eliminate Preventable Maternal Mortality

In recognition of Maternal Health Awareness Day on Jan. 23, the ACC joined the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and 17 other medical societies in a Commitment to Action aimed at eliminating preventable maternal mortality.

The multidisciplinary effort, which received support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will raise awareness about the risk of pregnancy-related emergencies in the 12-month postpartum period and highlight the role of all clinicians in recognizing and managing such emergencies. About 700 U.S. women die annually from pregnancy-related causes, with about one in three deaths occurring one week to one year postpartum. Cardiovascular conditions, such as cardiomyopathy, and hypertensive emergences, including preeclampsia, eclampsia and stroke, can be underlying causes of pregnancy-related deaths in the 12 months following delivery.

Specifically, the goals of the initiative are to 1) increase awareness of the critical role of non-obstetric health care professionals in reducing maternal mortality; 2) improve identification of patients who are pregnant or have been pregnant in the last 12 months in non-obstetric settings where these patients may present for care; and 3) enhance understanding among non-obstetric health care professionals to facilitate recognition of signs/symptoms of obstetric emergencies and readiness to stabilize or treat patients who present outside the obstetric setting.

“Reducing maternal cardiovascular mortality is of critical importance to the increasingly complex population of childbearing women in this country,” says Kathryn Lindley, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC Cardiovascular Disease in Women Committee. “Addressing this problem will require multidisciplinary commitment to improve clinician and patient education, interdisciplinary patient care and policy change.”

Keywords: ACC Advocacy, Stroke, Policy, Patient Care, Cardiomyopathies, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S., Postpartum Period, Pre-Eclampsia, Maternal Health, Eclampsia, Cardiovascular Diseases, Maternal Mortality, Pregnancy

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