, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 622-636
Date: 25 Sep 2012

Management of Peripartum Cardiomyopathy

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Opinion statement

Peripartum cardiomyopathy is diagnosed in women who develop systolic heart failure in the last month of pregnancy or within 5 months of delivery. This diagnosis should not be made in women with pre-existing cardiac disease or another cause of cardiac dysfunction. To prevent delay in diagnosis and treatment, a high index of suspicion is required given the overlapping symptoms of late pregnancy and heart failure. Traditional heart failure medical therapies are indicated, although drugs must be carefully reviewed for safety during pregnancy and lactation. Long-term prognosis is largely determined by the degree of ventricular recovery. Patients with acute or persistent hemodynamic compromise despite medical therapy should be considered for mechanical circulatory support and evaluated promptly for cardiac transplantation. A multidisciplinary team is required to care for patients with peripartum cardiomyopathy through parturition and beyond. All peripartum cardiomyopathy patients should be counseled that repeat pregnancy can negatively impact cardiac function and lead to recurrent heart failure or even death. Patients with persistent ventricular dysfunction should be strongly advised against another pregnancy.