The Healthcare Colloquium
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Peripartum Cardiomyopathy Treatment Not Covered by Insurance 3/27/13


Peripartum Cardiomyopathy is a form of dilated heart failure that affects women in pregnancy. Carol Hansen, RN, MS, CNS, CCRN from Banner Desert Medical Center was the guest speaker at the Colloquium’s monthly webinar on heart failure. Research has failed to demonstrate the cause of Peripartum Cardiomyopathy. It can occur in pregnancy, especially during the last month near term or as late as five months after delivery.

In the United States, there is literature that suggests that the incidence of Peripartum Cardiomyopathy ranges between 1/1000 in live births and 1/4000 live births. Generally, it is agreed that one woman is affected per every 2500 live births. There were 4.2 million live births in America in 2012. This means that just under 2000 women were affected. Because of this low incidence, the disease is considered to be “rare”.

Remarkably enough, 98% of the women recover fully over a period of about one year. Unfortunately, 2% die. This means that for this condition, young women who have recently just had a live baby die at the rate of about 40 women per year. Given the circumstances of a newborn baby and the joyous occasion, the death of the mother is indeed a tragedy.

The good news is that usual therapies for heart failure tend to work in the majority of the women. While ongoing care is required over a period of time, most women have recovered fully within the first 6-12 months of diagnosis.

Remarkably, little research is being done in this important area. Despite the “small numbers” affected, roughly 2000 women each year go home with newborn babies and heart failure requiring ongoing medical therapy plagued with exercise intolerance and lack of energy. It is next to impossible for a woman to manage her newborn at home and her heart failure. Health insurers are reluctant to pay for home health for these women who need it so desperately. Alarmingly, healthcare insurers will not pay for cardiac rehab programs for these young women either.

The Colloquium and its expert members are most appreciative of Carol Hansen, RN, MS, CNS, CCRN for presenting this timely topic that deserves more attention than it currently is receiving, especially by our health insurers.

For more information about Banner Desert Medical Center, visit: Banner Desert Medical Center

The Healthcare Accreditation Colloquium is a hospital membership organization based in Columbus, Ohio – improving heart failure care across America.

To view the recorded webinar click here