Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a rare form of heart failure due to left ventricular systolic dysfunction that affects women late in pregnancy and the postpartum period. A diagnosis of exclusion, peripartum cardiomyopathy can be difficult to diagnose in the context of the normal physiologic changes of pregnancy and requires a high index of suspicion.
Original research articles, review articles, and guidelines on peripartum cardiomyopathy were reviewed.
The etiology of peripartum cardiomyopathy remains poorly defined, but theories include genetic predisposition, as well as myocardial inflammation and angiogenic dysregulation. Risk factors for this condition include hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, Black race, and maternal age older than 30 years. Patients with peripartum cardiomyopathy are at increased risk of acute clinical decompensation, cardiac arrhythmias, thromboembolic complications, and death. Primary treatment modalities include initiation of a medication regimen aimed at the optimization of preload and reduction of afterload. Maternal clinical status is the primary determinant for timing of delivery.
Prompt diagnosis and medical management by an interdisciplinary care team are vital for improving outcomes in patients with peripartum cardiomyopathy.
Farrell, AS; Kuller, JA; Goldstein, SA; Dotters-Katz, SK
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