Peripartum cardiomyopathy: a review
Thomasville Medical Center, Department of Emergency Medicine, Thomasville Medical Center, Thomasville, NC, USA
Abstract: Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a form of dilated cardiomyopathy of unclear etiology affecting women without preexisting heart disease during the last month of pregnancy or during the first 5 months postpartum. Its incidence shows marked geographic and ethnic variation, being most common in Africa and among women of African descent. Most women present in the first month postpartum with typical heart failure symptoms such as dyspnea, lower extremity edema, and fatigue. These symptoms are often initially erroneously diagnosed as part of the normal puerperal process. Diagnosis can be aided by the finding of a significantly elevated serum brain natriuretic peptide. The etiology of PPCM is unclear; however, recent research suggests abnormal prolactin metabolism is seminal in its development, and prolactin antagonism with bromocriptine shows promise as a novel treatment for PPCM.
Keywords: pregnancy, pregnancy complications, cardiovascular, cardiomyopathy, dilated
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