Gestational Diabetes Tied to Future Heart Failure in Study


The authors called for screening women for diabetes during pregnancy.

Women who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy were at higher risk of developing heart failure, according to a study of Canadian women who gave birth over an 11-year period.

The study reviewed health ministry records of more than 906,319 women from Ontario, Canada who had a live birth singleton delivery between July 1, 2007, and March 31, 2018. Of these, 50,193 had been diagnosed with gestational diabetes (5.5%); and of the those with gestational diabetes, there were 763 heart failure events, over a median follow-up period of 7 years.

Those who had been diagnosed with diabetes or heart failure before their pregnancy were excluded from the study. The diagnosis of gestational diabetes was based on laboratory test results and diagnosis coding.

Mothers with gestational diabetes had a higher risk of heart failure, with an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.62 (95% CI 1.28-2.05) compared with those who did not have gestational diabetes. The higher risk remained after accounting for chronic kidney disease, postpartum diabetes, hypertension, and coronary artery disease, with an adjusted higher risk of 1.39 (95% CI 1.09-1.79).

Having gestational diabetes also increased the likelihood of being diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy, with an adjusted odds ratio of 1.83 (95% CI 1.45, 2.33). “Consequently,” the authors concluded, “diabetes screening during pregnancy is suggested to identify women at risk for heart failure.”


Echouffo-Tcheugui JB, Guan J, Retnakaran R, Shah BR. Gestational diabetes and incident heart failure: a cohort study. Diabetes Care. Published online August 12, 2021. doi: 10.2337/dc21-0552.

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