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Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a cause of pregnancy-associated heart failure. It typically develops during the last month of, and up to 6 months after, pregnancy in women without known cardiovascular disease. The present position statement offers a state-of-the-art summary of what is known about risk factors for potential pathophysiological mechanisms, clinical presentation of, and diagnosis and management of PPCM. A high index of suspicion is required for the diagnosis, as shortness of breath and ankle swelling are common in the peripartum period. Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a distinct form of cardiomyopathy, associated with a high morbidity and mortality, but also with the possibility of full recovery. Oxidative stress and the generation of a cardiotoxic subfragment of prolactin may play key roles in the pathophysiology of PPCM. In this regard, pharmacological blockade of prolactin offers the possibility of a disease-specific therapy.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Heart Fail

Publication Date





767 - 778


Antihypertensive Agents, Cardiology, Cardiomyopathies, Cathepsin D, Europe, Female, Humans, Incidence, Inflammation, Natriuretic Peptide, Brain, Oxidative Stress, Postpartum Period, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Prognosis, Prolactin, Risk Factors, Societies, Medical