Cardiomyopathy refers to a weak heart muscle that is unable to properly
transport blood through the mother’s body. Without enough oxygen,
the lungs, liver, and other vital organs are seriously affected. This
condition, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), is seen
in approximately one in 1,300 to 4,000 deliveries. More often than not,
it occurs in women over the age of 30.
Peripartum cardiomyopathy is often discovered during the last few weeks
of a pregnancy but may be diagnosed within five months of delivering the baby.
A physician can diagnose the condition during a regular pregnancy check,
but sometimes a mother will visit her OB/gyn with unexplained, unusual
symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath, swollen ankles, persistent
fatigue, and increased urination.
In most instances, the first thing a doctor would check would be the lungs,
to determine if there is fluid in them. This is usually accomplished by
tapping the lung area with the fingers, like playing percussion on a small
drum, and listening with a stethoscope. If there are any unusual sounds,
such as crackling in the lungs or the heart rhythm is not steady, the
doctor checks for swollen neck veins and/or an enlarged liver. The mother’s
blood pressure may also drop if she has peripartum cardiomyopathy.
A responsible physician runs various tests to find out what is affecting
the heart that may include, but not be limited to: a nuclear heart scan,
an ECG, chest x-ray, coronary angiography and chest CT scan. Although
this is a serious condition, it is reversible with prompt and appropriate
treatment with the right range of drugs.
If your doctor neglected to diagnose peripartum cardiomyopathy,
birth injury lawyer
Chris Mellino welcomes you to
contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation. You may also
download or request Chris’ free, easy-to-read guide to filing a claim in Ohio.