Cardiomyopathy and Pregnancy: Considerations for Women With Severely Reduced Left Ventricular Dysfunction

Avraham Shotan*, Jolien Roos-Hesselink, Lucia Baris, Sorel Goland, Yael Yekel, Uri Elkayam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Women with dilated cardiomyopathy or left ventricular (LV) dysfunction (LV ejection fraction [LVEF] < 40%) from other etiology are at increased risk of maternal and fetal mortality and morbidity. They should undergo preconception evaluation, risk assessment, and treatment modification including discontinuation and replacement of contraindicated medications. A close follow-up and treatment by a multidisciplinary team is recommended at all stages: preconception, gestation, delivery, and postpartum. An early gestational and delivery plan has to be prepared to face complications and to achieve a successful delivery and outcome. Long-term postpartum cardiac follow-up is recommended anticipating potential adverse effects of pregnancy. The recommended mode of delivery for most patients is vaginal. The indications for cesarian section are mainly obstetric, unless the patient is in severely decompensated heart failure or urgent delivery if the patient is receiving warfarin therapy. Cardiac events during pregnancy or in the first months postpartum occur in 32%-60% of patients. Prepregnancy signs of heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and New York Heart Association functional classification (NYHA FC) > II were associated with a poor cardiac outcome. Predictors of deterioration during pregnancy that are considered very high risk and should be advised to avoid pregnancy are: patients with NYHA FC III/IV unless improved under treatment and LVEF < 20%. Predictors for high risk of adverse outcome include: LVEF < 30%, NYHA FC II, ventricular tachyarrhythmias (including patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillator or cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator),atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular rate, severe mitral regurgitation, significant right ventricular failure, and hypotension. Overall, despite a high rate of complications, most women with LV dysfunction can undergo a successful pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2067-2075
Number of pages9
JournalCanadian Journal of Cardiology
Issue number12
Early online date29 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2021 Canadian Cardiovascular Society


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