Peripartum Cardiomyopathy Attorney Serving Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire
Peripartum Cardiomyopathy (PPCM) also referred to as Pregnancy Related cardiomyopathy is a rare and potentially lethal type of heart failure that can happen during any stage of pregnancy, but is more common during around the third trimester and/or after delivery. Importantly, PPCM is very likely to reoccur in subsequent pregnancies and the mortality rate for the mother and fetus in these subsequent pregnancies is significantly higher. The consequence of PPCM is that the mother’s heart is unable to properly and adequately pump blood to the rest of her body. This is measured by the heart’s Left Ventricle Ejection Fraction (LVEF) – or power stroke – which is normally measured between 50% to 60%, but in PPCM can get as low as 15% to 30% in its most severe form. Although this condition affects about 1,000 women in the US annually, for some reasons not yet entirely clear, the frequency has been increasing. However, PPCM can be easily detectable and treatable with vigilant medical attention and treatment. If a doctor missed a Peripartum cardiomyopathy diagnosis and you and/or your baby suffered a loss as a result, The Rohde Law Office wants to hear from you today at (626) 593-5786.
How Does Peripartum/Postpartum Cardiomyopathy Occur?
During pregnancy, a mother’s heart will pump as much as 50% more blood to her body because of the biological need to transmit oxygen and nutrition to the growing baby. In some cases, this increase in activity can weaken and enlarge the heart as a result. The consequence is that the heart’s efficiency is compromised and can no longer pump blood properly to the rest of the body – including the fetus.
Diagnosis of Peripartum Cardiomyopathy
The symptoms for PPCM are sometimes easily confused with common ailments of pregnant women in general. These symptoms include: shortness of breast (SOB), rapid heart rate, palpitations, light headedness, extreme fatigue, significant swollen feet, hands and/or face, and unusual fatigue. However, a variety of relatively simple non-invasive medical tests could easily reveal this condition:
Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
Certain blood tests
Although some studies suggest that about 50% of women diagnosed with Peripartum cardiomyopathy will completely recover in the weeks and months following delivery, becoming pregnant again too soon when the heart has not fully recovered then results in a very high mortality rate for the mother and fetus. In some cases, a mother’s health could decline rapidly in the months leading up to and after delivery which could require consideration for a heart transplant.
Peripartum cardiomyopathy is often missed or the diagnosis is often delayed often due to the sometimes overlapping or unusual symptoms of a pregnant woman, non-vigilance by the health care providers and/or a corporate like unwillingness to perform cardiac echocardiograms when warranted, EKGs or to refer for cardiac consultation. Your case should be carefully reviewed and discussed with an attorney who is experienced is medical malpractice law, pregnancy related cases in particular and personal injury. Attorney Richard R. Rohde, Esq., is a medical malpractice lawyer with offices in West Covina and Claremont, working with clients who’ve suffered a loss caused by Peripartum cardiomyopathy, and can help determine and pursue physician liability. Mr. Rohde has over 15 years’ experience working with PPCM clients in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino and Riverside counties and is the practitioner that other lawyers throughout the state call on when they have cases of misdiagnosis and medical negligence.
Can Peripartum Cardiomyopathy be Prevented?
Although lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of Peripartum Cardiomyopathy, there is no magic bullet and there is no “cure” per se. First time older mothers (35 years old plus) and those carrying twins or triplets are especially susceptible to this condition. Anyone potentially at risk for PPCM planning for or expecting to have a baby in the future should:
Avoid alcohol and cigarettes – good advice under any circumstance, but especially for future mothers
Seek out a “high-risk” OB/GYN physician familiar with PPCM
Engage in regular physician approved exercise
Consider requesting a baseline EKG or cardiac echocardiogram from your physician
Report unusual symptoms such as swelling (edema), easy fatigue, tachycardia, palpitations, etc., to your doctor
Pregnancy Related Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
A medical malpractice or birth injury lawsuit in California can be extremely complex, expensive and difficult to prove. Due to the unique nature of Peripartum cardiomyopathy you’ll need an experienced lawyer who has handled PPCM cases and that can accurately identify instances of likely medical negligence.
Contact Rohde Law Office Today
Attorney Richard Rohde can help you and your family discuss your options and the properly evaluate Peripartum Cardiomyopathy liability or a possible lawsuit, contact Rohde Law Office today @ (626) 593-5786. We will fight aggressively to help you obtain maximum compensation for you and your family’s injuries and damages.