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Unrecognized peripartum cardiomyopathy: Case series and comprehensive review of the literature

H. V. Groesdonk1,2*, A. Dinse-Lambracht1*, W. Doblanzki1, U. Doblanzki3, C. Galm3, C.-M. Muth1
1Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, University of Ulm, Germany; 2Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, University of Lübeck, Germany; 3Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Section of Pediatric Cardiology, University of Ulm, Germany; *authors equally contributed
[Applied Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology 13: 237-242, 2009]


Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is an uncommon type of heart failure of unknown cause occurring late in pregnancy or in the postpartum period. Because of its low incidence and the unspecific symptoms PPCM is often undetected or misdiagnosed. Unfortunately, PPCM is a disease whose underlying etiology and natural history remain incompletely understood. Nevertheless, it is incumbent on the intensivists as well as on the anesthetists to be cognizant of this disease, due to its high maternal morbidity and mortality.
A number of recent reviews have described in detail the clinical picture, pathophysiology and management of PPCM. To avoid duplications we use an illustrative case series of peripartum cardiomyopathy to introduce this topic and proceed to give a short but comprehensive review of published data for daily working clinician.

Keywords: pregnancy, cardiomyopathy, cardiac failure

Address for corresponding:
Claus-Martin Muth, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, University of Ulm, Steinhövelstr. 9, 89075 Ulm, Germany
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