Intersection of Heart Failure and Pregnancy: Beyond Peripartum Cardiomyopathy

Circ Heart Fail. 2021 May;14(5):e008223. doi: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.120.008223. Epub 2021 May 13.


Heart failure (HF) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in pregnant women in the United States. Although peripartum cardiomyopathy is the most common diagnosis for pregnant women with HF, women with preexisting cardiomyopathies and systolic dysfunction are also at risk as the hemodynamic demands of pregnancy can lead to decompensation, arrhythmia, and rarely death. The differential diagnosis of HF in pregnancy is broad and includes Takotsubo or stress cardiomyopathy, exacerbation of a preexisting cardiomyopathy, such as familial cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, or left ventricular noncompaction. This review will explore the implications of pregnancy in women with preexisting cardiomyopathies and de novo HF, risk assessment and preconception planning, decisions about contraception, the safety of HF medications and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators during pregnancy, pregnancy in women with left ventricular assist devices and following heart transplantation.

Keywords: diagnosis; heart failure; mortality; pregnancy; women.