The Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology has awarded Duke Anesthesiology’s Dr. Jennifer Dominguez a two-year, $100,000 Gertie Marx Education and Research Grant for her project titled, “Obstructive Sleep Apnea Screening in Pregnant Women with Chronic Hypertension.”
Pregnant women with chronic hypertension and their babies are at a significant risk for severe morbidity. Chronic hypertension complicates 3-5 percent of all pregnancies, and 17-29 percent of women with chronic hypertension will go on to develop preeclampsia. Both conditions have been associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease later in life. Obstructive sleep apnea is a risk factor for chronic hypertension and long-term cardiovascular disease. Despite the association of obstructive sleep apnea with adverse pregnancy outcomes, screening for obstructive sleep apnea in pregnancy with validated tools has proved challenging.
In this study, Dr. Dominguez will determine if portable home sleep testing of pregnant women with chronic hypertension is warranted. This knowledge is crucial to the development of screening algorithms that will lead to the early identification and treatment of pregnant women with obstructive sleep apnea. Notably, in non-pregnant adults, treatment of obstructive sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure improves blood pressure control; this may be an important intervention that could improve maternal and neonatal outcomes.
Dr. Dominguez is an assistant professor of anesthesiology with Duke Anesthesiology’s Women’s Anesthesia Division and the program director for the department’s Obstetric Anesthesiology Fellowship. Her research interests include women’s anesthesia, high-risk obstetric anesthesia, obesity and pregnancy, obstructive sleep apnea and pregnancy, and postpartum hemorrhage. She is also part of Duke Anesthesiology’s NIH T32 training program.