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Cardiovascular magnetic resonance in pregnancy: Insights from the cardiac hemodynamic imaging and remodeling in pregnancy (CHIRP) study

Robin A Ducas1, Jason E Elliott2, Steven F Melnyk3, Sheena Premecz3, Megan daSilva3, Kelby Cleverley3, Piotr Wtorek3, G Scott Mackenzie4, Michael E Helewa2 and Davinder S Jassal135*

Author Affiliations

1 Section of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Rm Y3531, Bergen Cardiac Care Centre, St. Boniface General Hospital, 409 Tache Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R2H 2A6, Canada

2 Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

3 Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, St. Boniface Research Centre, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

4 Section of Cardiac Anesthesia, Department of Anesthesia, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

5 Department of Radiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

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Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 2014, 16:1  doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-1

Published: 3 January 2014



Cardiovascular disease in pregnancy is the leading cause of maternal mortality in North America. Although transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is the most widely used imaging modality for the assessment of cardiovascular function during pregnancy, little is known on the role of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR). The objective of the Cardiac Hemodynamic Imaging and Remodeling in Pregnancy (CHIRP) study was to compare TTE and CMR in the non-invasive assessment of maternal cardiac remodeling during the peripartum period.


Between 2010–2012, healthy pregnant women aged 18 to 35 years were prospectively enrolled. All women underwent TTE and CMR during the third trimester and at least 3 months postpartum (surrogate for non-pregnant state).


The study population included a total of 34 women (mean age 29 ± 3 years). During the third trimester, TTE and CMR demonstrated an increase in left ventricular end-diastolic volume from 95 ± 11 mL to 115 ± 14 mL and 98 ± 6 mL to 125 ± 5 mL, respectively (p < 0.05). By TTE and CMR, there was also an increase in left ventricular (LV) mass during pregnancy from 111 ± 10 g to 163 ± 11 g and 121 ± 5 g to 179 ± 5 g, respectively (p < 0.05). Although there was good correlation between both imaging modalities for LV mass, stroke volume, and cardiac output, the values were consistently underestimated by TTE.


This CMR study provides reference values for cardiac indices during normal pregnancy and the postpartum state.

Pregnancy; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Cardiovascular remodeling; Transthoracic echocardiography