BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuPeripartum cardiomyopathyCardiomyopathy - peripartum; Cardiomyopathy - pregnancyPeripartum cardiomyopathy is a rare disorder in which a pregnant woman's heart becomes weakened and enlarged. It develops during the last month of pregnancy, or within 5 months after the baby is born. Causes Cardiomyopathy occurs when there is damage to the heart. As a result, the heart muscle becomes weak and does not pump well. This affects the lungs, liver, and other body systems.CardiomyopathyCardiomyopathy is disease of abnormal heart muscle in which the heart muscle becomes weakened, stretched, or has another structural problem. It ofte...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a form of dilated cardiomyopathy in which no other cause of heart weakening can be found.Dilated cardiomyopathyCardiomyopathy is disease in which the heart muscle becomes weakened, stretched, or has another structural problem. Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condi...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article It may occur in childbearing women of any age, but it is most common after age 30.Risk factors for the condition include:Obesity ObesityOverweight and obesity mean having a weight than is higher than what is healthy for a given height. A person may be overweight from extra muscle, bo...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Personal history of cardiac disorders such as myocarditis MyocarditisMyocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle. The condition is called pediatric myocarditis when it occurs in children.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Use of certain medicines Smoking Alcoholism AlcoholismAlcohol use disorder is when your drinking causes serious problems in your life, yet you keep drinking. You may also need more and more alcohol to f...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Multiple pregnancies Old age Preecclampsia African American descent Poor nourishment Symptoms Symptoms may include: Fatigue Feeling of heart racing or skipping beats (palpitations) Increased nighttime urination (nocturia) Shortness of breath with activity and when lying flat Swelling of the ankles Exams and Tests During a physical exam, the health care provider will look for signs of fluid in the lungs by touching and tapping with the fingers. A stethoscope will be used to listen for lung crackles, a rapid heart rate, or abnormal heart sounds.The liver may be enlarged and neck veins may be swollen. Blood pressure may be low or may drop when standing up.Heart enlargement, congestion of the lungs or the veins in the lungs, decreased cardiac output, decreased movement or functioning of the heart, or heart failure may show up on:Heart failureHeart failure is a condition in which the heart is no longer able to pump oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body efficiently. This causes symptom...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Chest x-ray Chest x-rayA chest x-ray is an x-ray of the chest, lungs, heart, large arteries, ribs, and diaphragm.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Chest CT scan Chest CT scanA chest CT (computed tomography) scan is an imaging method that uses x-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the chest and upper abdomen....ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Coronary angiography Coronary angiographyCoronary angiography is a procedure that uses a special dye (contrast material) and x-rays to see how blood flows through the arteries in your heart....ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Echocardiogram EchocardiogramAn echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves to create pictures of the heart. The picture and information it produces is more detailed than a s...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Nuclear heart scan Nuclear heart scanNuclear ventriculography is a test that uses radioactive materials called tracers to show the heart chambers. The procedure is noninvasive. The ins...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Cardiac MRI A heart biopsy may help determine if the underlying cause of cardiomyopathy is a heart muscle infection (myocarditis). However, this procedure is not done very often.Heart biopsyMyocardial biopsy is the removal of a small piece of heart muscle for examination.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Previous imagePlay SlideshowStop SlideshowNext image / Treatment A woman may need to stay in the hospital until acute symptoms subside.AcuteAcute means sudden or severe. Acute symptoms appear, change, or worsen rapidly. It is the opposite of chronic.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Because it is very often possible to restore heart function, and the women who have this condition are often young and otherwise healthy, care is often aggressive.When severe symptoms occur, this may include extreme steps such as:Use of an assistive heart pump (aortic counterpulsation balloon, left ventricular assist device) Immunosuppressive therapy (such as medicines used to treat cancer or prevent rejection of a transplanted organ) Heart transplant if severe congestive heart failure persists Heart transplantA heart transplant is surgery to remove a damaged or diseased heart and replace it with a healthy donor heart.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article For most women, however, treatment mainly focuses on relieving the symptoms. Some symptoms go away on their own without treatment.Medicines that are often used include:Digitalis to strengthen the heart's pumping ability Diuretics ("water pills") to remove excess fluid Low-dose beta-blockers Other blood pressure medicinesA low-salt diet may be recommended. Fluid may be restricted in some cases. Activities, including nursing the baby, may be limited when symptoms develop.Daily weighing may be recommended. A weight gain of 3 to 4 pounds (1.5 to 2 kilograms) or more over 1 or 2 days may be a sign of fluid buildup.Women who smoke and drink alcohol will be advised to stop, since these habits may make the symptoms worse. Outlook (Prognosis) There are several possible outcomes in peripartum cardiomyopathy. Some women remain stable for long periods, while others get worse slowly.Others get worse very quickly and may be candidates for a heart transplant. About 4% of people will require heart transplantation and 9% may die suddenly or die from complications of the procedure.The outlook is good when a woman's heart returns to normal after the baby is born. If the heart remains abnormal, future pregnancies may result in heart failure. It is not known how to predict who will recover and who will develop severe heart failure. Up to about one half of women will recover completely.Women who develop peripartum cardiomyopathy are at high risk of developing the same problem with future pregnancies. The rate of recurrence is about 30%. Therefore, women who have had this condition should discuss birth control methods with their provider. Possible Complications Complications include:Cardiac arrhythmias (can be deadly) ArrhythmiasAn arrhythmia is a disorder of the heart rate (pulse) or heart rhythm. The heart can beat too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or irregul...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Congestive heart failure Clot formation in the heart which can embolize (travel to other parts of the body) When to Contact a Medical Professional Call your provider if you are currently pregnant or have recently delivered a baby and think you may have signs of cardiomyopathy.Get medical help right away if you develop chest pain, palpitations, faintness, or other new or unexplained symptoms. Prevention Eat a well-balanced diet and get regular exercise to help keep your heart strong. Avoid cigarettes and alcohol. Your provider may advise you to avoid getting pregnant again if you have had heart failure during a previous pregnancy.Open ReferencesReferencesBlanchard DG, Daniels LB. Cardiac diseases. In: Resnik R, Lockwood CJ, Moore TR, Greene MF, Copel JA, Silver RM, eds. Creasy and Resnik's Maternal-Fetal Medicine: Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 52.McKenna WJ, Elliott PM. Diseases of the myocardium and endocardium. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 54.Silversides CK, Warnes CA. Pregnancy and heart disease. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 90.AllVideoImagesTogHeart - section through the middle - illustration The interior of the heart is composed of valves, chambers, and associated vessels.Heart - section through the middleillustrationHeart - front view - illustration The external structures of the heart include the ventricles, atria, arteries and veins. Arteries carry blood away from the heart while veins carry blood into the heart. The vessels colored blue indicate the transport of blood with relatively low content of oxygen and high content of carbon dioxide. The vessels colored red indicate the transport of blood with relatively high content of oxygen and low content of carbon dioxide.Heart - front viewillustrationPeripartum cardiomyopathy - illustration Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a rare disorder in which a weakened heart is diagnosed within the last month of pregnancy or within 5 months after delivery, without other identifiable causes for dysfunction of the heart. The heart muscle becomes enlarged and weakened and cannot pump blood efficiently. Decreased heart function affects the lungs, liver, and other body systems.Peripartum cardiomyopathyillustrationHeart - section through the middle - illustration The interior of the heart is composed of valves, chambers, and associated vessels.Heart - section through the middleillustrationHeart - front view - illustration The external structures of the heart include the ventricles, atria, arteries and veins. Arteries carry blood away from the heart while veins carry blood into the heart. The vessels colored blue indicate the transport of blood with relatively low content of oxygen and high content of carbon dioxide. The vessels colored red indicate the transport of blood with relatively high content of oxygen and low content of carbon dioxide.Heart - front viewillustrationPeripartum cardiomyopathy - illustration Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a rare disorder in which a weakened heart is diagnosed within the last month of pregnancy or within 5 months after delivery, without other identifiable causes for dysfunction of the heart. The heart muscle becomes enlarged and weakened and cannot pump blood efficiently. Decreased heart function affects the lungs, liver, and other body systems.Peripartum cardiomyopathyillustration Tests for Peripartum cardiomyopathy Nuclear ventriculographyRelated Information Cardiomyopathy(Condition)Dilated cardiomyopathy(Condition)Overweight(Symptoms)Myocarditis(Condition)Alcohol use disorder(Condition)Heart failure(Condition)Arrhythmias(Condition)Pulmonary embolus(Condition)Weight control and diet(In-Depth)Alcohol use disorders(In-Depth)Heart failure(In-Depth) Review Date: 6/25/2020 Reviewed By: Micaela Iantorno, MD, MSc, FAHA, RPVI, Interventional Cardiologist at Mary Washington Hospital Center, Fredericksburg, VA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. 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