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Peripartum cardiomyopathy: inflammatory markers as predictors of outcome in 100 prospectively studied patients

Karen Sliwa, Olaf Förster, Elena Libhaber, James D. Fett, Jay Bruce Sundstrom, Denise Hilfiker-Kleiner, Aftab A. Ansari
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehi481 441-446 First published online: 5 September 2005


Aims Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a disorder of unknown aetiology with a course and outcome that is largely unpredictable. We evaluated the prognostic role of multiple inflammatory markers in the plasma of a large cohort of African patients with PPCM.

Methods and results The study of 100 patients with newly diagnosed PPCM was single-centred, prospective, and longitudinal. Clinical assessment, echocardiography, and blood analysis were done at baseline and after 6 months of standard therapy. Inflammatory markers were measured at baseline only. Fifteen patients died. Left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) improved from 26.2±8.2 to 42.9±13.6% at 6 months (P<0.0001). However, normalization of LVEF (>50%) was only observed in 23%. Baseline levels of C-reactive protein correlated positively with baseline LV end-diastolic (rs=0.33, P=0.0026) and end-systolic (rs=0.35, P=0.0012) diameters and inversely with LVEF (rs=−0.27, P=0.015). Patients who died presented with significantly lower mean EF and higher Fas/Apo-1 plasma values (P<0.05). Fas/Apo-1 and New York Heart Association functional class (NYHA FC) predicted mortality at baseline.

Conclusion Plasma markers of inflammation were significantly elevated and correlated with increased LV dimensions and lower LVEF at presentation. Baseline Fas/Apo-1 and higher NYHA FC were the only predictors of mortality. Normalization of LVEF was only observed in 23% of this African cohort.

  • Peripartum cardiomyopathy
  • Predictors of outcome
  • Inflammatory markers
  • Fas/Apo-1
  • C-reactive protein
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