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Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a rare and life-threatening disease that affects young women in the last month of pregnancy or within 5 months of delivery. It is a form of dilated cardiomyopathy with left-sided systolic dysfunction. The incidence rate in the Western world is estimated to be 1:3000. Symptoms of PPCM vary greatly and may be obscured by common physiological aspects of pregnancy. Therefore, the incidence rate might be higher. Echocardiography or MRI can confirm or rule out PPCM. Unfortunately, there is no specific risk factor profile available. The clinical course varies from complete recovery to deterioration of cardiac function. Patients with PPCM, especially those whose ventricular function has not returned to normal, are advised against further pregnancy. Recently, more disease-specific therapeutic strategies have been developed with promising results for prolactin blockade by bromocriptine. Increasing awareness for PPCM among general practitioners, gynaecologists and cardiologists may help to diagnose patients efficiently in order to start adequate treatment. A national registry is warranted to identify risk factor profiles and to optimise treatment strategies.
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- Peripartum cardiomyopathy: the need for a national database
S. I. Lok
J. H. Kirkels
P. A. F. Doevendans
N. de Jonge
- Bohn Stafleu van Loghum