Detection and management of arrhythmias in peripartum cardiomyopathy

Cardiovasc Diagn Ther. 2020 Apr;10(2):325-335. doi: 10.21037/cdt.2019.05.03.


Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is an idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, in which previously healthy women present with heart failure secondary to left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction during the last months of pregnancy or up to 5 months postpartum. PPCM occurs worldwide. The incidence seems to be increasing, possibly due to increasing awareness of the condition and diagnosis thereof. Women diagnosed with PPCM present with symptoms and signs of heart failure, thromboembolism or arrhythmia. Although the incidence of arrhythmias in this condition is not well documented, patients with PPCM often have rhythm disturbances. Indeed, life-threating arrhythmias contribute significantly to sudden cardiac death (SCD) in this population, especially when patients have poor systolic function. In this review, we summarize the evidence on atrial and ventricular arrhythmias in PPCM, as detected by various diagnostic modalities. Furthermore, we summarize the management of arrhythmias in PPCM, as recommended by contemporary guidelines.

Keywords: Ambulatory electrocardiographic monitoring (AECG); arrhythmia; cardioverter-defibrillator; electrocardiogram (ECG); peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM).

Publication types

  • Review