Introduction: Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a rare cardiomyopathy characterized by an acute reduction in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). Sudden deaths during the course of PPCM are reported to be elevated, the underlying mechanisms remains unknown. The aim of the present multi-centre study was to evaluate the arrhythmia burden in a multi-centre approach in patients with PPCM using a wearable cardioverter/defibrillator (WCD).
Methods and results: Forty-nine patients from 16 German centres with newly diagnosed PPCM and LVEF ≤35% receiving a WCD were included in this retrospective analysis. Mean follow-up was 15 ± 10 months. At diagnosis, mean age was 33 ± 5 years, parity was 2.1 ± 1.6, LVEF was 21 ± 7%, NYHA functional class was 3.4 ± 0.7. Mean wear time was 120 ± 106 days, mean wear time per day was 21.4 ± 3.3 h. Six (12%) patients presented eight ventricular tachyarrhythmias during WCD period: five episodes of VF, two sustained ventricular tachycardia (VT) and one non-sustained VT occurred.
Conclusion: This multicentre study underpins the elevated risk for ventricular tachyarrhythmias in patients with newly diagnosed PPCM and reduced LVEF. A WCD should be considered for 3-6 months in these patients to prevent sudden cardiac death from ventricular tachyarrhythmias.
Keywords: Peripartum cardiomyopathy; Sudden cardiac death; Ventricular tachyarrhythmia; Wearable cardioverter/defibrillator.