A contemporary review of peripartum cardiomyopathy

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Peripartum cardiomyopathy reflects the presence of cardiac failure in the absence of determinable heart disease and occurs in late third trimester of pregnancy or up to 6 months postpartum. A full understanding of pathophysiological mechanisms is lacking, but excess prolactin levels, haemodynamic alterations, inflammation and nutritional deficiencies have all been implicated. Its clinical presentation has distinct overlap with physiological alterations in healthy pregnancy and this presents a diagnostic challenge. However, echocardiography can provide significant benefit in accurate assessment and narrowing of differentials. Pharmacotherapy is broadly aligned with established guidelines for cardiac failure, but specific therapies are indicated for treatment of clinical sequelae. Moreover, an individualistic approach is required based on clinical context to manage delivery. Further research appears imperative to optimise management strategies and reduce disease burden.

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