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Minerva Anestesiologica 1999 September;65(9):665-73

Copyright © 2000 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: Italian

Peripartum cardiomyopathy: a review and case report

Bolis C., Protti S., Piantanida S., Rona R., Cantoni A., Cuccia E., Rivolta G.

Ospedale Maggiore - Lodi, Servizio di Anestesia, Rianimazione e Terapia Antalgica


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Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a rare form of heart failure affecting women in the last month of pregnancy or the first six months postpartum. The etiology of PPCM remains poorly understood altough some risk factors were described. Diagnosis is often difficult and is always necessary to exclude other prior heart disease and other cause of left ventricular dysfunction in pregnancy. Medical therapy for PPCM is similar to that for other forms of congestive heart failure; prognosis is better than in idiopathic cardiomyopathy but many authors observed that women who have had one episode of PPCM are likely to have recurrences in subsequent pregnancies. The present report describes the case of a woman presenting with severe cardiac failure immediately after cesarean section for twin pregnancy. The patient is a 35-year-old nulliparous white woman, with history of anorexia, subsequent amenorrhea, sterility and pregnancy induced with Gn-Rh. The diagnosis of PPCM was diffucult for the presence of preeclampsia and acute pulmonary edema occurred four hours after delivery. The successful outcome was possible with an intensive treatment (mechanical ventilation, Swan-Ganz catheter). The whole resolution of the heart failure, six months post-partum, was demonstrated by ultrasonography.

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