Reviewing peripartum cardiomyopathy: current state of knowledge.

Future cardiology

PubMedID: 19371191

Selle T, Renger I, Labidi S, Bultmann I, Hilfiker-Kleiner D. Reviewing peripartum cardiomyopathy: current state of knowledge. Future Cardiol. 2009;5(2):175-89.
Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a serious, potentially life-threatening heart disease of unknown etiology in previously healthy women that develops between the last month of pregnancy and 5-6 months after delivery. PPCM is a distinct clinical entity in which echocardiography demonstrates the features of an idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy with a high morbidity and mortality, but in addition, patients suffering with PPCM have a chance of reaching full recovery. A variety of potential risk factors related to PPCM have been suggested over the last decades, which may help to identify women at risk in the future. Recent advances in understanding the pathophysiology of PPCM assign a key role to unbalanced oxidative stress and the generation of a cardiotoxic prolactin subfragment. In this regard, pharmacological blockade of prolactin holds the promise of novel, more disease-specific therapy options. The present article provides an overview on the clinical appearance and management, risk factors and potential pathophysiological mechanisms of PPCM.