Peripartum cardiomyopathy

Alternative Names

Cardiomyopathy – peripartum

Definition of Peripartum cardiomyopathy

Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a rare disorder in which a weakened heart is diagnosed within the final month of pregnancy or within 5 months after delivery.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

occurs when there is damage to the heart. As a result, the heart muscle becomes weak and cannot pump blood efficiently. Decreased heart function affects the lungs, liver, and other body systems.

Signs and tests

During a physical examination, the physician will look for signs of fluid in the lungs by touching and tapping with the fingers. Listening to the chest with a stethoscope will reveal lung crackles, a rapid heart rate, or abnormal heart sounds.

Treatment

The woman may need to stay in the hospital until acute symptoms subside.

Expectations (prognosis)

There are several possible outcomes in peripartum cardiomyopathy. Some women remain stable for long periods, while others get worse slowly.

Review

Issam Mikati, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine. Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 5/4/2010

Heart, section through the middle
Heart, front view
Peripartum cardiomyopathy

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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