Mette-Elise Estensen

Mette-Elise Estensen, MD, PhD, Department of Cardiology, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet

Dr. Estensen defended her PhD thesis "Left ventricular function and systemic arterial properties in normal and preeclamptic pregnancy" in January 2013.

Pregnancy is reffered to as life's stress to the heart. Preeclampsia occurs in 3-8% of all pregnancies and can have serious consequences for the mother and child. Research has shown that women who have undergone preeclampsia have a significantly increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease later in life.

Cardiologist and researcher Mette-Elise Estensen studied how the heart and the large vessels function during normal pregnancies in healthy women, and compared the change in healthy women with the changes that occur in women who develop preeclampsia.

In her dissertation, Estensen and colleagues, found that the heart pump function reduced somewhat during pregnancy, both in healthy subjects and in those with preeclampsia. Heart function is normalized in both groups after childbirth. However, Estensen found that during pregnancy women with preeclampsia have more rigid vessels compared to healthy women, this is persistent even after pregnancy and is shown in women who are controlled 3 years after undergone preeclampsia.

Estensen concluded that women who have undergone preeclampsia have persistent cardiovascular changes that last up to three years after childbirth, which can help explain the increased incidence of cardiovascular disease in these women.

Center for Cardiological Innovation