DOI: 10.1161/circ.148.suppl_1.12289 ISSN: 0009-7322

Abstract 12289: A Postpartum Diastolic Murmur

Joyce Han, Sameer Sheth, Eric M Isselbacher, Nandita Scott
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

A 44-year-old G3P1011 underwent uncomplicated Caesarian section for obstetric indications with delivery of a healthy girl. Several hours postpartum, she developed hypoxemia requiring transient supplemental oxygen. Cardiology was consulted for further evaluation.

Upon initial assessment, she appeared comfortable with an oxygen saturation of 93% on room air. She reports an otherwise uneventful pregnancy. Her past medical history is significant for chronic hypertension on propranolol. She was afebrile with a HR of 91, BP 147/66 (left arm) and 155/68 (right arm). Her JVP was 10-11 cm H20. There was a III/IV low-pitched decrescendo early-mid diastolic murmur, loudest at the left lower sternal border, radiating to the apex, and a systolic ejection murmur. EKG (panel A) showed normal sinus rhythm, with no ischemic abnormalities.

Due to the discovery of a new murmur, there was concern for valvular pathology as a cause for her suspected heart failure, particularly aortic regurgitation (AR). An urgent TTE (panel C-E) was requested and showed a dissection flap in the ascending aorta, effacement of the sinotubular junction, and severe AR. CT angiogram confirmed the diagnosis of type A aortic dissection (AD; panel B).

Twelve hours after the delivery of her baby, she underwent emergent aortic valve repair and aortic arch replacement. She recovered well and was discharged home post-op day 6. Though no human data exists, animal data suggests increased AD risk in breastfeeding animals with Marfan Syndrome. Due to her near catastrophic presentation, she elected to not breastfeed. Her genetic testing results are pending.

AD in pregnancy is rare. There is an increased risk of AD in pregnant compared to non-pregnant women. AD often occurs in the third trimester or postpartum, and most women are unaware of a preexisting arteriopathy. In this case, the detection of a diastolic murmur resulted in rapid diagnosis and treatment, essential in the management of this life-threatening condition.

More from our Archive