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Peripartum cardiomyopathy

  • Definition

    Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a rare disorder in which a weakened heart is diagnosed within the final month of pregnancy or within 5 months after delivery.


    Alternative Names

    Cardiomyopathy - peripartum


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Cardiomyopathy occurs when there is damage to the heart. As a result, the heart muscle becomes weak and cannot pump blood efficiently. Decreased heart function affects the lungs, liver, and other body systems.

    Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a form of dilated cardiomyopathy in which no other cause of heart dysfunction (weakened heart) can be identified.

    In the United States, peripartum cardiomyopathy complicates 1 in every 1,300 - 4,000 deliveries. It may occur in childbearing women of any age, but it is most common after age 30.

    Risk factors include obesity, having a personal history of cardiac disorders such as myocarditis, use of certain medications, smoking, alcoholism, multiple pregnancies, being African American, and being malnourished.