Use of Race, Ethnicity, and National Origin in Studies Assessing Cardiovascular Risk in Women With a History of Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy

Relative number of participants with a diagnosis of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) in studies that assessed its association with cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
Elsevier, CJC Open, Volume 3, Issue 12, December 2021
Johnston A., Tseung V., Dancey S.R., Visintini S.M., Coutinho T., Edwards J.D.

Women with a history of hyperBtensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) are at particularly high risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and CVD-related death, and certain racial and ethnic subpopulations are disproportionately affected by these conditions. We examined the use of race, ethnicity, and national origin in observational studies assessing CVD morbidity and mortality in women with a history of HDP. A total of 124 studies, published between 1976 and 2021, were reviewed. We found that white women were heavily overrepresented, encompassing 53% of all participants with HDP. There was limited and heterogeneous reporting of race and ethnicity information across studies and only 27 studies reported including race and/or ethnicity variables in at least 1 statistical analysis. Only 2 studies mentioned the use of these variables as a strength; several others (k = 18) reported a lack of diversity among participants as a study limitation. Just over half of included articles (k = 68) reported at least 1 sociodemographic variable other than race and ethnicity (eg, marital status and income); however, none investigated how they might have worked synergistically or antagonistically with race and/or ethnicity to influence participants’ risk of CVD. These findings highlight significant areas for improvement in cardiovascular obstetrics research, including the need for more robust and standardized methods for collecting, reporting, and using sociodemographic information. Future studies of CVD risk in women with a history of HDP should explicitly examine racial and ethnic differences and use an intersectional approach.