Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Peripartum cardiomyopathy refers to weakening of heart muscles, which starts during the last month of pregnancy and continue about 5 months period after delivery of women without any valid cause. It mainly takes place right after the delivery of women and a rare condition carrying severe or mild symptoms. Ejection fraction indicates the severity of this condition i.e. the exact percentage of blood pumps out by the heart with each heartbeat. Normal ejection fraction in this case is equal to 60 percent.

Symptoms of Peripartum Cardiomyopathy

The problem of peripartum cardiomyopathy has a few common symptoms, such as-

  • Feeling of skipping beats or racing heart, also called as palpitations.
  • Fatigue or tiredness.
  • Increase in urination during the nighttime.
  • Breathing shortness with both activities and when women lie down flat.
  • Swelling in ankles or in entire legs.
  • Swelling in the veins of neck.
  • Low blood pressure.

How Long Can You Live With Peripartum Cardiomyopathy?

How Long Can You Live With Peripartum Cardiomyopathy?

Latest research studies have revealed that with the latest heart failure treatment consisting of ACE inhibitors and diuretics and beta-blockers, the survival rate has improved to 98 percent or more with proper treatment. In fact, about 50 percent of peripartum cardiomyopathy patients succeeded to get complete recovery of their heart functions. In addition, the patients eventually become able to discontinue taking medicines without any result of relapse of the problem and lead normal life expectancy.

Other than this, a large number of women have succeeded to achieve recovery or improvement even after many years of their diagnosis with consistent medical treatment. Once they succeed to recover completely, possibility related to recurrence or relapse of the problem is less provided women do not go for any subsequent pregnancy.

Life Expectancy with the Problem with further Pregnancy

Now, the question that comes in the mind of women is that although they recover from the problem of PPCM, could they be able to try for further pregnancies. For this-

If your heart does not recover completely up to its work capacity, you should avoid for further pregnancies. Despite the baby does not have to bear any direct risk, going through further pregnancy with abnormal heart function may sometimes cause additional problems to your heart, which in turn harm your developing fetus.

Particularly, you should strictly avoid subsequent pregnancy, if the functions performed by the left ventricle of your heart do not recover completely or your EF remains low i.e. equal to 55 percent. Significant research study has highlighted that risk related to recurrence of heart problems or heart failure in recovered patients of PPCM because of subsequent pregnancy is about 21 percent or more than that.

Chances related to relapse of the problem may further be small for all individuals with normal contractile reservation, as demonstrated with the help of stress echocardiography. In any type of subsequent pregnancy, both doctors and patients should opt for careful monitoring of the problem. Whenever relapse takes place, you should make sure to resume the convention treatment, which include nitrates, hydralazine and beta-blockers at the time of your pregnancy or ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers after your pregnancy.

If your heart recovers completely from your previous pregnancy, you may attempt for additional pregnancy. However, in this case, you should make sure about periodic monitoring of your heart based on stress tests and echocardiograms. Echocardiogram checks the functionality of your heart during rest condition, while stress test measures it's functions under strain.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: September 27, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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