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Ann Med Health Sci Res. 2013 Jul;3(3):313-9. doi: 10.4103/2141-9248.117925.

Peripartum cardiomyopathy.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria.


Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a rare form of unexplained cardiac failure of unknown origin, unique to the pregnant woman with highly variable outcome associated with high morbidity and mortality. PPCM is fraught with controversies in its definition, epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management. PPCM is frequently under diagnosed, inadequately treated and without a laid down follow-up regimen, thus, the aim of this review. Publications on PPCM were accessed using Medline, Google scholar and Pubmed databases. Relevant materials on PPCM, selected references from internet services, journals, textbooks, and lecture notes on PPCM were also accessed and critically reviewed. PPCM is multifactorial in origin. It is a diagnosis of exclusion and should be based on classic echocardiographic criteria. The outcome of PPCM is also highly variable with high morbidity and mortality rates. Future pregnancies are not recommended in women with persistent ventricular dysfunction because the heart cannot tolerate increased cardiovascular workload associated with the pregnancy. Although, multiparity is associated with PPCM, there is an increased risk of fetal prematurity and fetal loss. PPCM is a rare form of dilated cardiomyopathy of unknown origin, unique to pregnant women. The pathophysiology is poorly understood. Echocardiography is central to diagnosis of PPCM and effective treatment monitoring in patients of PPCM. The outcome is highly variable and related to reversal of ventricular dysfunction.


Cardiomyopathy; Echocardiography; Peripartum; Pregnancy

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