Background: There has been no nationwide survey concerning peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) among the Asian population, and clinical profiles of PPCM complicated with hypertensive disorders complicating pregnancy (HD) as the major risk factor of PPCM have not been characterized.
Methods and results: A retrospective, nationwide survey of PPCM in 2007 and 2008 all over Japan was performed and the clinical characteristics were compared between patients with and without HD. We obtained data for 102 patients. HD during pregnancy occurred in 42 patients (41%). Patients with HD were older than those without HD (33.8 vs. 31.9 years old, P<0.05) and babies were delivered more frequently by Caesarean section (81% vs. 52%, P<0.01). Although cardiac parameters at diagnosis were similar in patients with and without HD, patients with HD were hospitalized for a shorter period and had better cardiac function after 7 months. Multivariate regression analysis revealed that HD was independently associated with a shorter hospital stay and a higher left ventricular ejection fraction at last follow up.
Conclusions: PPCM complicated with HD had different clinical characteristics from those without HD. This condition might be a unique subset of PPCM that is characterized by relatively swift recovery except in the cases of death. In order to prevent severe heart failure and maternal death, peripartum women should be treated with HD cautiously and must immediately undergo a cardiac examination as needed.