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Journal of Pregnancy
Volume 2010, Article ID 149127, 5 pages
Review Article

Peripartum Cardiomyopathy: A Current Review

Section on Cardiology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1045, USA

Received 11 March 2010; Revised 24 May 2010; Accepted 17 June 2010

Academic Editor: Fabio Facchinetti

Copyright © 2010 Katie M. Twomley and Gretchen L. Wells. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a rare but potentially lethal complication of pregnancy occurring in approximately 1 : 3,000 live births in the United States although some series report a much higher incidence. African-American women are particularly at risk. Diagnosis requires symptoms of heart failure in the last month of pregnancy or within five months of delivery in the absence of recognized cardiac disease prior to pregnancy as well as objective evidence of left ventricular systolic dysfunction. This paper provides an updated, comprehensive review of PPCM, including emerging insights into the etiology of this disorder as well as current treatment options.