The Peripartum Cardiomyopathy Network (PCN) is a network of physicians and nurses at clinical sites across the United States and Canada dedicated to both clinical care and investigation of peripartum cardiomyopathy. Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a rare complication of pregnancy which occurs in 1 of every 3,000-4,000 live births in the United States. It shares all the phenotypic features of other forms of acute non-ischemic cardiomyopathy but presents in women in the last month of pregnancy or the first several months postpartum. While most affected women will recover varying levels of cardiac function over the first year after presentation, unfortunately almost half do not recover completely and are left with chronic dilated cardiomyopathy. Peripartum cardiomyopathy remains a major cause of maternal morbidity and mortality (1,2,3,4).
The rarity of this disorder has limited the practical experience of most clinicians and has represented a challenge as well for clinical investigation. For this reason the PCN was formed in 2009 and currently includes more than 30 clinical sites across the United States and Canada. Our goal is both to provide access to heart failure specialists and nurses experienced in the management of this disorder for women with PPCM and their physicians. The PCN also hopes to facilitate clinical investigations to further the understanding of the pathogenesis of this disorder, evaluate new therapies, and improve clinical outcomes for women with PPCM. Currently the PCN is involved in the IPAC study, Investigations in Pregnancy Associated Cardiomyopathy, which will investigate the role of immune activation in myocardial injury and recovery for women with PPCM.
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