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Characterization of peripartum cardiomyopathy by cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging


Peripartum Cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a potentially life threatening disease and the major cause of acute heart failure in the peripartum period. While many aspects of its clinical profiles have been frequently reported, functional analysis, in particular of the right ventricle, and tissue characterization by cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging have been only sporadically described. The aim of the present study was to analyze pathological alterations found in CMR imaging of patients newly diagnosed with PPCM.


This was a multicenter study enrolling 34 patients with confirmed PPCM who underwent CMR imaging at the time of diagnosis.


Cine imaging of PPCM patients showed moderate to severe reduction of systolic left ventricular (LV) function (mean LVEF: 29.7±12.8%). In 35% of the patients right ventricular (RV) systolic function was also reduced with a mean RVEF of 42.9±13.9%. Dilatation of the LV was observed in 91% (mean LV-EDV/BSA 128.5±32.1 ml/m2) and dilatation of the RV was present in 24% (mean RV-EDV/BSA 87.4±18.5 ml/m2) of the patients. Focal non-ischemic late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) was visible in 71% and regional wall motion abnormalities were evident in 88% of the patients. LGE and wall motion abnormalities were predominantly located in the anteroseptal and basal to midventricular segments.


Beside LV systolic dysfunction, RV dysfunction and dilatation are frequently observed in PPCM patients at the time of diagnosis. The presence of LGE suggests focal damage of myocardial tissue. A distinct pattern of LV wall motion abnormalities is evident in most PPCM patients. The present study may help to establish a set of CMR criteria suitable for diagnosis in patients with suspected PPCM and contribute to our understanding of this diesease.


This study was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Cluster of Excellence "Regenerative Biology to Recontructive Therapy" (Rebirth).

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Haghikia, A., Röntgen, P., Vogel-Claussen, J. et al. Characterization of peripartum cardiomyopathy by cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging. J Cardiovasc Magn Reson 17 (Suppl 1), Q46 (2015).

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