Comparison of Clinical Characteristics and Outcomes of Peripartum Cardiomyopathy Between African American and Non–African American Women

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Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) disproportionately affects women of African ancestry, but well-powered studies to explore differences in severity of disease and clinical outcomes are lacking.


To compare the clinical characteristics, presentation, and outcomes of PPCM between African American and non–African American women.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This retrospective cohort study using data from January 1, 1986, through December 31, 2016, performed at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, a tertiary referral center serving a population with a high proportion of African American individuals, included 220 women with PPCM.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Demographic and clinical characteristics and echocardiographic findings at presentation, as well as clinical outcomes including cardiac recovery, time to recovery, cardiac transplant, persistent dysfunction, and death, were compared between African American and non–African American women with PPCM.


A total of 220 women were studied (mean [SD] age at diagnosis, 29.5 [6.6] years). African American women were diagnosed with PPCM at a younger age (27.6 vs 31.7 years, P < .001), were diagnosed with PPCM later in the postpartum period, and were more likely to present with a left ventricular ejection fraction less than 30% compared with non–African American women (48 [56.5%] vs 30 [39.5%], P = .03). African American women were also more likely to worsen after initial diagnosis (30 [35.3%] vs 14 [18.4%], P = .02), were twice as likely to fail to recover (52 [43.0%] vs 24 [24.2%], P = .004), and, when they did recover, recovery took at least twice as long (median, 265 vs 125.5 days; P = .02) despite apparent adequate treatment.

Conclusions and Relevance

In a large cohort of women with well-phenotyped PPCM, this study demonstrates a different profile of disease in African American vs non–African American women. Further work is needed to understand to what extent these differences stem from genetic or socioeconomic differences and how treatment of African American patients might be tailored to improve health outcomes.

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