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Use of Ballistocardiography to Monitor Cardiovascular Hemodynamics in Preeclampsia.


Objective: Pregnancy requires a complex physiological adaptation of the maternal cardiovascular system, which is disrupted in women with pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia, putting them at higher risk of future cardiovascular events. The measurement of body movements in response to cardiac ejection via ballistocardiogram (BCG) can be used to assess cardiovascular hemodynamics noninvasively in women with preeclampsia. Methods: Using a previously validated, modified weighing scale for assessment of cardiovascular hemodynamics through measurement of BCG and electrocardiogram (ECG) signals, we collected serial measurements throughout pregnancy and postpartum and analyzed data in 30 women with preeclampsia and 23 normotensive controls. Using BCG and ECG signals, we extracted measures of cardiac output, J-wave amplitude × heart rate (J-amp × HR). Mixed-effect models with repeated measures were used to compare J-amp × HRs between groups at different time points in pregnancy and postpartum. Results: In normotensive controls, the J-amp × HR was significantly lower early postpartum (E-PP) compared with the second trimester (T2; p = 0.016) and third trimester (T3; p = 0.001). Women with preeclampsia had a significantly lower J-amp × HR compared with normotensive controls during the first trimester (T1; p = 0.026). In the preeclampsia group, there was a trend toward an increase in J-amp × HR from T1 to T2 and then a drop in J-amp × HR at T3 and further drop at E-PP. Conclusions: We observe cardiac hemodynamic changes consistent with those reported using well-validated tools. In pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia, the maximal force of contraction is lower, suggesting lower cardiac output and a trend in hemodynamics consistent with the hyperdynamic disease model of preeclampsia.

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