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ESC Heart Fail. 2015 Dec;2(4):139-149. Epub 2015 Sep 30.

Prognostic implication of right ventricular involvement in peripartum cardiomyopathy: a cardiovascular magnetic resonance study.

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Department of Cardiology and Angiology Hannover Medical School Hannover Germany.
Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology Hannover Medical School Hannover Germany.
Department of Cardiology Paracelsus Medical University, General Hospital Nuernberg Nuernberg Germany.
Division of Cardiology, Pulmonology, and Vascular Medicine, Medical Faculty University Duesseldorf Germany.
Department of Cardiology, Pulmonology, and Vascular Medicine University of Heidelberg Heidelberg Germany.



Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a major cause of acute heart failure in the peripartum period and considered potentially life threatening. While many aspects of its clinical profiles have been frequently reported, functional analysis, in particular of the right ventricle, and tissue characterization by cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging have been only sporadically described. The aim of the present study was to analyse pathological alterations and their prognostic relevance found in CMR imaging of patients newly diagnosed with PPCM.


In this multicenter study 34 patients with confirmed PPCM underwent CMR imaging at the time of diagnosis and at 5 ± 1 months follow-up. Cine imaging of PPCM patients showed moderate to severe reduction of systolic left ventricular (LV) function (mean LVEF: 29.7 ± 12.8%). In 35% of the patients right ventricular (RV) systolic function was also reduced with a mean RVEF of 42.9 ± 13.9%. Dilatation of the LV was observed in 91% (mean LV-EDV/BSA 128.5 ± 32.1 mL/m2), and dilatation of the RV was present in 24% (mean RV-EDV/BSA 87.4 ± 18.5 mL/m2) of the patients. Focal non-ischemic late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) was visible in 71%, and regional wall motion abnormalities were evident in 88% of the patients. LGE and wall motion abnormalities were predominantly located in the anteroseptal and basal to midventricular segments. RV dysfunction at baseline was associated with reduced probability of full cardiac recovery at 5 ± 1 months follow-up.


Besides LV systolic dysfunction, RV dysfunction and dilatation are observed in about one third of PPCM patients at the time of diagnosis. RV dysfunction is associated with unfavourable outcome. A distinct pattern of LV wall motion abnormalities and myocardial scar is evident in most PPCM patients. The present study may help to establish a set of CMR criteria suitable for diagnosis in patients with suspected PPCM and may add further knowledge to the pathology of the disease.


Multiparametric cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging; Peripartum cardiomyopathy; Right ventricular involvement

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