What is peripartum cardiomyopathy?
Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a rare disorder in which a heart muscle weakening is noted within the final month of pregnancy or within 5 months after delivery. Often it leads to severe heart failure due to left ventricular dysfunction. Most of them recover well once the baby is delivered. Those with persistent left ventricular dysfunction have a high risk of recurrence in subsequent pregnancies. Even those who recover completely do have a risk of recurrence with subsequent pregnancy. Treatment of peripartum cardiomyopathy is just like any other form of severe heart failure. Ionotropic support may be useful in the acutely ill patient. Digoxin and diuretics are useful in relieving symptoms. Afterload reduction with ACE inhibitors can be added after delivery. ACE inhibitors are contra-indicated in pregnancy due to fetal risk.