Treatment During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant when PPCM is diagnosed, your doctors will work closely together to form the safest possible plan for you and your baby. Your treatment plan will include the following:
- Discussions and decisions about the risk of continuing your pregnancy
- A plan for the timing and mode of your delivery
- Heart failure medications that are safe during pregnancy to remove excess fluid, reduce stress on the heart's pumping action, and improve your symptoms
- Discussions about breastfeeding, including your desire, your safety, and the safety of your baby.
Treatment After Pregnancy
After pregnancy, your doctors will continue to treat your PPCM and monitor your heart function. Your treatment plan may include:
- Continuing your heart failure medications for up to one year
- Regular heart tests and imaging
- Pacemaker or defibrillator therapy:
If you continue to have a weak heart muscle despite taking your medications, you may need a cardiac device known as an internal cardiovertor defibrillator (ICD). This device may also include a special pacemaker that can help coordinate heart motion.
- Family planning
Heart Transplant and Ventricular Assist Device — Advanced Heart Failure Therapies
In rare circumstances, your heart may not recover after PPCM. Heart transplantation or a heart pump, called a left ventricular assist device or LVAD, may be treatment options for you.
Both heart transplantation and LVAD are considerable treatments and are not right for every woman. Our doctors, nurses, financial counselors, and social workers will take a special interest in you and your family.
Our goal is to help you make the best medical decisions possible, while protecting your well-being, your time with your baby, and your quality of life.
Recovery and Outcomes
On average, it takes patients with PPCM from 2-9 months to recover heart function. Additional recovery may take up to one year or even longer.
The risk of dying from PPCM is much lower than previously thought, ranging from 0- 19%. The risk is higher in patients with lower heart function at the time they are diagnosed.
Unfortunately, it is not clear if having another pregnancy after being diagnosed with PPCM is safe. We do know that there is a risk of having a return of heart failure with another pregnancy, and even possibly death. Your team of doctors will work closely with you in making important decisions about family planning and contraception.