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The female heart is adapted to support the hemodynamic load of pregnancy; it hypertrophies during pregnancy then returns to its pre-pregnancy size relatively soon after delivery. This cardiac hypertrophy has generally been categorized as physiologic hypertrophy, similar to that seen with exercise, however a reduction in cardiac function in late pregnancy has been indicated in previous studies. In addition, the hemodynamic stress of pregnancy can induce a maladaptive, pathologic hypertrophy in a small number of women, and multiparity is thought to increase the risk of this maladaptive response. Because prolonged, persistent hemodynamic stress is associated with the development of pathological hypertrophy, multiple pregnancies may exacerbate any contractile changes seen during a single pregnancy. This study sought to characterize the contractile properties of the murine heart in pregnant myocardium during singular and multiple pregnancies.
Wagner, Marcus J., "The Effects of Multiple Pregnancies on the Murine Heart" (2017). Biology Honors Papers. 15.
Funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute via the FUTURE program at Ursinus College. Additional funding from the UGSRF program at the American Physiological Society. Funding by Ursinus College and the Ursinus College Biology Department.