Peripartum Cardiomyopathy

Of interest to obstetric anesthesiologists, a BMJ current review of this rare but serious dilated cardiomyopathy with systolic dysfunction that presents in late pregnancy or, more commonly, the early postpartum period.

Risk factors include black ancestry, pre-eclampsia, advanced maternal age, and multiple gestation pregnancy. Half recover but many more are left with chronic disease and a minority require mechanical support and/or transplantation.

Features are common to heart failure, and also include arrhythmias and thromboembolism (anticoagulation for which will impact neuraxial anesthesia). General treatment measures are discussed and potential specific treatments, including Bromocriptine for Prolactin inhibition, a postulated mechanism in etiology.

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