Am J Perinatol 1989; 6(4): 397-399
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-999625

© 1989 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.

Cardiac Screening for Pregnant Intravenous Drug Abusers

Cassandra E. Henderson, Sachiko Terribile, Deborah Keefe, Irwin R. Merkatz
  • Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Cardiology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York
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Publication History

Publication Date:
04 March 2008 (online)


We performed screening two-dimensional and M-mode echocardiograms on 23 pregnant intravenous drug abusers who had systolic murmurs that clinically appeared physiologic. Although no patient had symptoms or a history of cardiac disease, all but two of the women were evaluated as having unexpected cardiac valvular changes. The majority of morphologic valvular findings on echocardiography consisted of either a mitral valve prolapse or valvular leaflet thickening. However, two of these 21 women were identified as having a previously undiagnosed aortic or tricuspid vegetation for which they subsequently received prophylactic antibiotic therapy during labor and delivery. Notably, two additional women among the group with morphologic valvular changes ultimately developed subacute bacterial endocarditis. Atypically, the clinical illness occurred antenatally for one of the two women with a mitral valve prolapse and 18 months postpartum for another woman with unexplained valvular thickening. On the basis of these observations, a more liberal use of echocardiography in the care of the pregnant intravenous drug abuser population is suggested for evaluation of otherwise seemingly innocuous systolic murmurs.