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Aims: Cardiac disease is emerging as an important contributor to maternal deaths in both lower-to-middle and higher income countries. There has been a steady increase in the overall institutional maternal mortality rate in South Africa over the last decade. The objectives of this study were to determine the cardiovascular causes and contributing factors of maternal death in South Africa, and identify avoidable factors, and thus improve the quality of care provided. Methods: Data collected via the South African National Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths (NCCEMD) for the period 2011–2013 for cardiovascular disease (CVD) reported as the primary pathology was analysed. Only data for maternal deaths within 42 days post-delivery were recorded, as per statutory requirement. One hundred and sixty-nine cases were reported for this period, with 118 complete hospital case files available for assessment and data analysis. Results: Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) (34%) and complications of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) (25.3%) were the most important causes of maternal death. Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, HIV disease infection and anaemia


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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