Biomarker test for Peripartum Cardiomyopathy could help reduce death after giving birth

May 17, 2014, European Society of Cardiology

Cardiologists have discovered biomarkers that can be used to develop a screening test to detect Peripartum Cardiomyopathy (PPCM), a life-threatening disorder that is the primary cause of mortality in pregnant women in developing countries. The results, which can lead to the immediate treatment of PPCM in new mothers and a significant reduction in mortality, were presented at Heart Failure 2014, which opened the World Congress on Acute Heart Failure in Athens the 17 to the 20 May.

"For there are two major causes of death: massive hemorrhage and PPCM, and it is a very sad situation because a time of great happiness turns to great sorrow and the new baby and the father are left alone," said study co-author Professor Alexandre Mebazaa, from the Hopital Lariboisiere, Paris. "Here we have found a way to detect rather quickly whether the woman has PPCM and to treat it quickly and efficiently."

PPCM is the leading cause of death in who are pregnant or have just given birth in Haiti, South African and Egypt, according to the study's authors. Treatment was often delayed because it was difficult to know whether the women were experiencing normal symptoms of pregnancy or PPCM. The new discovery will allow doctors to administer a blood test to determine whether the woman has PPCM and begin effective treatment immediately.

"There's an urgent need for biomarkers of PPCM since the condition can be hard to differentiate from the normal symptoms of pregnancy that include dyspnoea, oedema and palpitations", said Professor Karen Sliwa, a co-author from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

The authors hypothesized that since angiogenesis and relaxin-2 pathways are altered in PPCM the biomarkers ratio of these two pathways placental growth factors/sFlt-1 and relaxin-2 could be used to discriminate PPCM among peripartum women.

In the study, plasma was withdrawn from 77 PPCM patients, 75 healthy peripartum women, 25 breast feeding mothers, and 65 non-pregnant (HF) patients and tested for levels of cardiovascular (NT-proBNP), anti- (sFlt-1) and angiogenic [Placental (PlGF) or vascular endothelial (VEGF)] .

Results showed that compared to the other groups, PPCM patients had significantly higher levels of NT-proBNP, lower levels of plasma relaxin-2, and that the sFlt-1/PlGF ratio and sFlt-1/VEGF ratio were statistically lower.

"The next step will be to confirm our findings in a larger cohort and if they hold we could go on to develop a bed side test similar to NT-pro BNP in HF," said Professor Sliwa.

Explore further: A potential biomarker for pregnancy-associated heart disease?

Related Stories

A potential biomarker for pregnancy-associated heart disease?

April 24, 2013
Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a deterioration in cardiac function that occurs in pregnant women during the last month or in the months following their pregnancy. This disorder can occur in women with no prior history ...

First genetic mutation linked to heart failure in pregnant women

June 21, 2011
Researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City have identified the first genetic mutation ever associated with a mysterious and potentially devastating form of heart disease that affects ...

Scientists uncover important clues to peripartum cardiomyopathy

May 9, 2012
Peripartum cardiomyopathy, a form of heart failure that by definition develops late in pregnancy or shortly after delivery, results in a frightening turn of events that can leave new mothers suffering from a lifelong chronic ...

Eplerenone reduces primary endpoint in acute myocardial infarction patients

April 29, 2014
A drug known to reduce mortality rate in patients with heart failure has now been found significantly effective when administered early in patients following an acute (ST elevated) myocardial infarction. This effect,say the ...

Tracing the molecular causes of preeclampsia

September 10, 2012
Preeclampsia is one of the most dangerous conditions for the expectant mother and the unborn child and is characterized by elevated blood pressure and protein in the urine in the last trimester of pregnancy. The cause for ...

New test may predict severe high blood pressure during pregnancy

November 4, 2013
A new test that checks the level of a placental protein could help doctors determine if a woman will develop a severe form of high blood pressure during pregnancy, according to a study in the American Heart Association journal ...

Recommended for you

A nanoparticle inhalant for treating heart disease

January 18, 2018
A team of researchers from Italy and Germany has developed a nanoparticle inhalant for treating people suffering from heart disease. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes ...

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

January 10, 2018
Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.