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freakin out
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freakin out


  my girlfriend has been diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy and needless to say i'm new to it anyway she called me and told me she was having bad chest pains...when i got to her she explained the pains as if someone was like sqeezing the **** out of her or tight tight pressure...she was lying down when i arrived and while she was explaining this to me i noticed that it appeared to me that she was having a hard time breathing, not really struggling but apparent none the less...also a kind of "kennel cough" kept coming not rerally heavy but often enough to concern me... what flippin next?
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Dear Tony,
Oh course with any acute emergency we recommend calling 911 or  your doctor.  What you are describing is not typical of peripartum cardiomyopathy.  I would definitely have your girlfriend see her doctor as soon as possible.  Below is some additional information about peripartum cardiomyopthy.  All of it may not apply to her situation.  Good luck.
Post-Partum (or peripartum) cardiomyopathy is a relatively rare form of heart failure that affects women during or following pregnancy.  Establishing a diagnosis requires 1. The absence of a determinable cause for cardiac failure, 2. Absence of preexisting heart muscle disease, and 3. Time limitations of onset of illness from the last month of pregnancy to the first 5 post-partum months.  Peripartum cardiomyopathy complicates 1 of 1300 to 4000 deliveries in the United States.  This condition may affect women of any race, age, or number of prior deliveries; however, older, multigravida, African American and twin pregnancies are thought to represent predisposing features.  The cause is unknown.  
The treatment is standard heart failure medication (diuretics, digoxin, ACE inhibitors) and in severe cases heart transplant.  Approximately half of patients with this diagnosis will return to normal within 6 months.  Of those who do not return to normal the prognosis is poor with an average survival of 4.7 years after diagnosis (without transplant).  Repeat pregnancies are not recommended for women who have had peripartum cardiomyopathy.  You can find additional information in the following articles.  (your local medical library should be able to help you find these).
Lampert, MB Lang RM. Peripartum cardiomyopathy. Am Heart J 1995; 130:860-870.
Huerta EM, Erice A, Espino RF, et al. Postpartum cardiomyopathy and acute myocarditis. Am Heart J 1985; 110:1079-1081.
I hope you find this information useful.  Information provided in the heart forum is for general purposes only.  Only your physician can provide specific diagnoses and therapies.  Please feel free to write back with additional questions.
If you would like to make an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, please call 1-800-CCF-CARE or inquire online by using the Heart Center website at www.ccf.org/heartcenter.  The Heart Center website contains a directory of the cardiology staff that can be used to select the physician best suited to address your cardiac problem.





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