Did you know that women who experience a complication during pregnancy have an increased risk of developing premature heart disease before the age of 55?

A unique clinic informed by research at the Lyell McEwin Hospital (LMH) is paving the way in changing this and improving women’s health outcomes.

The research program integrated into this clinic (the COFFEE* Clinic) is led by Clinical Research Assistant Emily Aldridge who is passionate about executing research that will educate women, improve their health and reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the future. It will save lives.

“Heart disease is the number one killer of women in Australia and worldwide, and pregnancy gives us a unique opportunity to identify those women who are at higher risk of developing premature heart disease,” Emily explained.

“It seems that pregnancy acts as a stress test for the heart, meaning it gives us a unique insight into a woman’s future heart health.”

Established by Emily’s supervisor, Associate Professor Margaret Arstall, at the LMH, the COFFEE Clinic is a new clinical service that invites women who have experienced serious complications, like high blood pressure and diabetes, during pregnancy to be assessed and given advice from an expert nurse practitioner such as lifestyle changes and referrals to relevant specialists.

Associate Professor Margaret Arstall 02“Many women don’t receive follow-up care after giving birth following a pregnancy complication and our aim with the COFFEE Clinic is to ultimately reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in South Australian women,” Emily said.

“We hope our care model will then be adopted in other centres across Australia.

The Hospital Research Foundation is proud to have expanded our support to the LMH, supporting vital research in Adelaide’s north.

“We also want to keep raising awareness about the link between pregnancy complications and cardiovascular disease so that women become more engaged in taking steps to reduce their cardiovascular risk earlier in life,” Emily said.

If you would like more information on this project, email us at contactus@hospitalresearch.com.au or call (08) 8244 0591.


* COFFEE is an abbreviation of ‘Cardiovascular assessment after Obstetric complications: Follow-up For Education and Evaluation’

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