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Aims: Subsequent pregnancies (SSPs) in patients with peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) have a high risk of heart failure relapse. We report on outcome of SSPs in PPCM patients inGermany, Scotland, and South Africa. Methods and results: Among 34 PPCM patients with a SSP, pregnancy ended prematurely in four patients while it was full-term in 30. Overall relapse rate [left ventricular ejection fraction, (LVEF) < 50% or death after at least 6-month follow-up] was 56% with 12% (4/34) mortality. Relapse of PPCM after SSP was not associated with differences in parity, twin pregnancy, gestational hypertension, or smoking. Persistently reduced LVEF ( < 50%) before entering SSP was present in 47% of patients while full recovery (LVEF ≥50%) was present in 53%. The majority of patients entering SSP with persistently reduced LVEF were of African ethnicity (75%). Persistently reduced LVEF before SSP was associated with higher mortality (25% vs. 0%) and lower rate of full recovery at follow-up. Patients obtaining standard therapy for heart failure and bromocriptine immediately after delivery displayed significantly better LVEF at follow-up and a higher rate of full recovery with no patient dying compared with patients obtaining standard therapy for heart failure alone. This was independent of African or Caucasian race. Conclusion: Full recovery of LVEF before SSP was associated with lower mortality and better cardiac function at follow-up. Addition of bromocriptine to standard therapy for heart failure immediately after delivery was safe and seemed to be associated with a better outcome of SSP in African and Caucasian patients.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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