Peripartum cardiomyopathy: A puzzle closer to solution

World J Cardiol. 2014 Mar 26;6(3):87-99. doi: 10.4330/wjc.v6.i3.87.


Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) represents new heart failure in a previously heart-healthy peripartum patient. It is necessary to rule out all other known causes of heart failure before accepting a diagnosis of PPCM. The modern era for PPCM in the United States and beyond began with the report of the National Institutes of Health PPCM Workshop in 2000, clarifying all then-currently known aspects of the disease. Since then, hundreds of publications have appeared, an indication of how devastating this disease can be to young mothers and their families and the urgent desire to find solutions for its cause and better treatment. The purpose of this review is to highlight the important advances that have brought us nearer to the solution of this puzzle, focusing on what we have learned about PPCM since 2000; and what still remains unanswered. Despite many improvements in outcome, we still do not know the actual triggers that initiate the pathological process; but realize that cardiac angiogenic imbalances resulting from complex pregnancy-related immune system and hormonal changes play a key role.

Keywords: Heart failure; Peripartum cardiomyopathy; Pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Review