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Re: peripartum cardiomyopathy

Posted By CCF CARDIO MD - DLB on May 08, 1998 at 19:26:29:

In Reply to: peripartum cardiomyopathy posted by Karen O'Quinn on May 06, 1998 at 16:03:44:

Is it possible to have more children if you have been diagnosed
with peripartum cardiomyopathy?  What are the chances of a full
Dear Karen:
It is possible for a full recovery after peripartum cardiomyopathy.  In people that fully recover, the limited evidence that is available suggests that it is possible to have a subsequent uncomplicated pregnancy.  
The two important questions to ask, however, are whether you have peripartum cardiomyopathy in the first place, and whether it has resolved.  No one knows yet what causes peripartum cardiomyopathy.  It typically occurs in the last month of pregnancy or the first five months after pregnancy, though more often closer to the time of delivery.  Heart failure symptoms (shortness of breath, swelling of the legs) that occur earlier in pregnancy are more likely due to pregnancy exacerbating a preexisting cardiomyopathy of a different type.  The differentiation is important, because if the heart failure is due to another cause, the correct treatment needs to be given.
Approximately half of the women that get peripartum cardiomyopathy recover fully.  It can take up to six months for that recovery to occur.  After six months, further recovery is less likely.  However, the standard medicines to treat heart failure are very effective for the symptoms of peripartum cardiomyopathy.
Cardiac ultrasound exams [echocardiograms] are the tests used to monitor heart function and recovery of heart function.  In addition, cardiac catheterizations are sometimes necessary.
I hope this information is useful to you.  I wish you the best of luck.  If you have peripartum cardiomyopathy, I urge you to go to a medical center that has expertise in the area of heart failure.  If you are thinking about getting pregnant again, please consult a cardiologist who specializes in heart failure first.
If you wish to be evaluated here at the Cleveland Clinic, please call 1-800-CCF-CARE for an appointment with a cardiologist who specializes in heart failure at desk F25.  Information provided in the Heart Forum is for general purposes only.  Specific diagnoses and therapies can only be provided by your doctor.

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