I am 40 y/o and have a 4 month old baby. No family history of heart issues. Found out about 1 year before pregnancy had PVCs but family doc was not concerned. The day I delivered, my heart rate was in low 30s and had quick delivery. Cardiologist was called due to low heart rate. I had no symptoms. I had an echocardiogram performed at the hospital and my heart was enlarged mildly. I had to wear holter monitor for 48 hours. I had about 9,000 PVCs out of 200K+. I was instructed to come back in 4 months. I came in today and had another EKG and Echocardiogram and doc said I had Mitral Valve Prolapse, Peripartum Cardiomyopathy and PVCs every few seconds. He wants to treat with meds for a month to slow heart rate to see if that helps the Peripartum Cardiomyopathy symptom.
Any suggestions or recommendations on what I should do besides wait a month???
You are right to be concerned about this diagnosis and I recommend that you continue to investigate the best treatment options for you.
I think its quite appropriate to commence heart strengthening medications (such as beta-blockers and possibly ACE inhibitors) and follow your heart function closely over a period of weeks to months with repeat ECG's, Holter monitoring, and echocardiographs. Improvements in heart strength, or ventricular function, can take many months. In some cases, heart function will not improve.
Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle. It results in weakening of the heart muscle of the left-sided pumping chamber (medical term: ventricle).
Cardiomyopathy can occur for many reasons. It may occur during or after a pregnancy (medical term: peripartum cardiomyopathy) it may occur after an infection (medical term: myocarditis) or it may be related to other heart conditions such as heart valve disease or narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle (medical term: coronary artery disease). Often we do not know the cause of the cardiomopathy (medical term: idiopathic cardiomyopathy). Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is due thickening of the heart muscle and is discused elsewhere. (see Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy)
The strength of the heart muscle is often assessed by examining the ability of the heart to pump blood (medical term: ejection fraction). A normal ejection fraction is greater than 55%. The ejection fraction is usually measured by an ultrasound of the heart (medical term: echocardiogram).
Cardiomyopathy can limit your ability to exercise, it can cause fast heart rhythms (medical term: arrhythmias), fainting spells (medical term: syncope) or heart failure. Uncommonly, cardiomyopathies can be associated with dangerous heart rhythms called ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation which can be fatal.
Peripartum cardiomyopathy has some special considerations. It usually occurs during the late part of a pregnancy or after the delivery. The cause of peripartum cardiomyopathy is not known. Women often present with weakened heart muscle and heart failure. Not all women survive. Of the women who do survive, some will have complete recovery of the heart muscle. Others will be left with weakened heart muscle. For women who are left with weakening of the heart muscle, another pregancy can be very dangerous.
Additional special considerations after pregnancy include scrutiny of which medications are transmitted in the breast milk of breast feeding mothers. If this has not been discussed with you I recommend revisiting these issues with your doctor / cardiologist.
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